On October 15, 2013, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Cleveland Heights as a bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC), making our city one of only eight in Ohio to earn this distinction. Others are Lakewood, Dublin, Westerville, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Ohio has no silver, gold or platinum Bicycle Friendly Communities. The bronze level BFC award recognizes Cleveland Heights’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
The BFC program is a way for communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while providing a measuring tool to gauge their progress toward a more bicycle friendly community. There are now 291 BFCs in 48 states.
Cleveland Heights received a BFC honorable mention in 2010. Since then, the City, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, and the coalition have worked together to make Cleveland Heights more bicycle friendly.
I worked with the city on both applications and am currently serving as president of the Heights Bicycle Coalition. Officers and directors of the coalition, city employees and many in our public schools deserve credit for this earned distinction. Collectively, the community has added bicycle facilities such as the first buffered bike lane in Northeast Ohio, sharrows, and bike racks, offered community rides, bike rodeos, and much more.
Before the end of this year, Cleveland Heights will have a Transportation Advisory Committee to facilitate alternative modes of transportation. In October, City Council passed an ordinance to create this Committee. Also coming are School Travel Plans to enable kids to walk or bike to school.
The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application process is a rigorous and an educational tool for change. Since its inception, more then 500 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
To learn more about the free BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community. – See more at: http://bikesintheheights.org/events/getting-friendlier-lets-celebrate/#more-3454