Biking for Bronze
Compiled by Carol Bodensteiner and Mary Gottschalk
The League of American Bicyclists ranked Iowa sixth in the nation for bicycle-friendly communities in 2011. Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City, and University Heights won bronze medals from the organization this spring; Dubuque and West Des Moines both earned an honorable mention.
Medal-winning cities must provide exhaustive evidence of community-wide commitment to bicycling as a feature of daily life. Both Cedar Falls and Iowa City developed formal plans for incorporating bike lanes and trails into future road repair and construction; Des Moines is putting the final touches on its own plan.
The League’s award program helps stimulate creative thinking. “The application process pushed us to develop our bike plan,” says Kim Manning, manager of the Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau. Kris Ackerson, assistant transportation planner for Iowa City, agrees. “It’s easy to say you’re bicycle-friendly, but it makes a big difference to get positive feedback from a third party.”
Learn more about the League of American Bicyclists and community-specific bicycle-friendly improvements at www.bikeleague.org. — M.G.
Photo © Can Stock Photo Inc./gynane