Alaska has two new Bicycle Friendly Communities in Kenai and Soldotna (both at the Bronze level) after the League of American Bicyclists announced its Fall 2018 award-winners on Dec. 6. In addition, Haines received an honorable mention.
Sitka was Alaska’s first Bicycle Friendly Community, earning Bronze in 2008, repeating as Bronze in 2012, and upgrading to Silver in 2016. In addition, Anchorage (Silver) and Juneau (Bronze) are Bicycle Friendly Communities, and Fairbanks has an honorable mention. There are five official levels in the BFC program (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond), and Honorable Mention is a step below BFC.
The Bicycle Friendly Community program requires communities to answer more than 100 questions about bicycling in their area in five main categories, called the Five E’s (Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation). The BFC program is part of the League of American Bicyclists’ larger Bicycle Friendly America program, which also includes Bicycle Friendly State rankings and the Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs.
Since Kenai and Soldotna are so close to each other, they worked on their BFC applications together. Matt Pyhala, a volunteer with the Biking In Kenai & Soldotna (BIK&S) program, told radio station KDLL they were looking for a progress report when they applied and didn’t expect to win the Bronze designations.
“We were applying and hoping they could give us some good feedback and we could start working on that low-hanging fruit to get up to a level where we had a designation. So the fact that we got the Bronze level, we were ecstatic,” Pyhala told KDLL (click this link for full story).
According to the League of American Bicyclists, there now are 464 communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with Bronze level or higher designations in the Bicycle Friendly Community program.