Soldotna Receives Bronze Level for Bicycle Friendly Communities
Local bicycling advocacy group, BIK&S (Biking in Kenai & Soldotna), led the effort in a rigorous application process with the Bicycle Friendly Community program to recognize the commitment by both cities to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
December 6, 2018, the League of American Bicyclists recognized both Soldotna & Kenai with Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) awards, joining 464 visionary communities from across the country. Alaska currently has three other recognized Bicycle Friendly Communities that include Anchorage and Sitka at the Silver level and Juneau at the Bronze level.
“It is so exciting that Kenai and Soldotna were nationally recognized as bicycle friendly communities at the same time,” said BIKE&S member Jennifer Tabor. “Both cities received report cards that outline the next steps needed to continue making biking safer, convenient and fun.”
Since the Bicycle Friendly Community program’s inception over 20 years ago, more than 800 distinct communities have applied for recognition. The program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community for communities of all shapes and sizes. The application process is an educational tool in itself, and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.
BIKE&S member Kaitlin Vadla said the local advocacy group is excited to help improve biking in our communities. “Our motto is to get things done.” One of the most recent achievements in bicycle friendliness in both cities was the installation of two bike repair stations along the Unity Trail, one in front of the Soldotna Regional Sports Center and one by Beaver Creek Park in Kenai. BIKE&S member Sarah Pyhala said “The group’s future goals include adding signage along the unity trail to make biking and walking safer, installing bike racks that meet national standards throughout Kenai and Soldotna, and continuing to educate kids about bicycle safety with fun events in May during Bike Month.”
BIKE&S hosts a monthly group bike ride every full moon. The next ride meets at Cook Inletkeeper parking lot (43622 Sterling Hwy) on Dec 22 at 9:30am for a sunrise tour of the east side of town followed by waffles and hot drinks at Brew602. Bikes adorned with Christmas decorations and people adorned with ugly sweaters are encouraged. All bicycles and their riders are welcome and the event is family-friendly. To get involved with BIKE&S, find them on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/bikes.ak
“We’re thrilled both cities are receiving the awards. The Bronze designation gives us a starting point and roadmap for how to improve” said Vadla. The five levels of the BFC award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category and a no designation level – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. The League of American Bicyclists provides feedback and guidance to every applicant community, regardless of award designation, with the goal of helping every community to improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts, but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards, and community-driven best practices.
To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.
About the Bicycle Friendly AmericaSM Program
The Bicycle Friendly CommunitySM, Bicycle Friendly StateSM, Bicycle Friendly BusinessSM and Bicycle Friendly UniversitySM programs are generously supported by program partner Eco-Counter and by League Members. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit www.bikeleague.org/BFA
The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.