01/06/2014
The Town of Vail has improved its ranking as a Bicycle Friendly Community from a bronze designation to a silver status. The award is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists which recognizes communities with remarkable commitments to bicycling. A presentation will take place at the Tuesday, Jan. 7 Vail Town Council meeting in which Gregg Barrie, the town’s landscape architect, will describe the award in more detail.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, the Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) program provides a way for communities to evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. There are 291 BFCs in 48 states across America, including 20 in Colorado.

Vail’s heightened ranking is good through 2017 and is due, in part, to the town’s extensive recreation path system and mountain biking facilities as well as the community’s longstanding enthusiasm for biking. The recent construction of widened shoulders on the frontage roads contributed to the improved ranking, according to Barrie who prepared the application. Within the past three years, the town has constructed nearly 6 miles of widened shoulders in Vail with plans for an additional 3.5 miles by the end of next summer. “This was a big investment on the town’s part to improve safety and usability for residents and guests,” Barrie said. “The presence of the USA Pro Challenge and other biking events also contributed to the recognition.”

“This is an exciting award for Vail as well as for Eagle County,” Barrie continued. “The ECO Trails program is working hard to expand the county’s bicycle facilities with new separated paths and widened bike lanes and the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association is working towards a world class off road trail system.  However, the recognition goes beyond facilities to include attitudes and enthusiasm about biking,” he said.
 
To apply, applicants complete a detailed online form with numerous questions in five key areas: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation/planning. Local cyclists, national experts and League staff then review the applications to determine the recipients.

While the application process is rigorous, the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve, according to Barrie.
 
While the town is excited about its new silver level designation, staff is already looking for opportunities to improve Vail’s biking facilities including better roadway markings, upgraded lighting in some areas, evaluating the potential for new mountain biking and hiking trails and updating the 1989 Recreation Trails Master Plan.

To learn more about the league’s Bicycle Friendly Community program, visit www.bicyclefriendlyamerica.org. For media inquiries, contact Gregg Barrie with the Town of Vail at 479-2337 or Elizabeth Murphy with the league at 202-822-1333 or at liz@bikeleague.org.

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates.

Contact(s)

Contact: Gregg Barrie, 479-2337
Town of Vail Landscape Architect
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