Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New National Walk-Friendly Community Program

The League of American Bicyclists' program of designating Bicycle Friendly Communities is an excellent initiative in how it focuses attention on improving the local environment for bicycling. The application form is really an evaluation tool that helps communities focus on the most important components of a bicycling-friendly environment.

DC and Baltimore are rated bronze. Rockville, Maryland received an honorable mention (a bit surprising, since in the region, they are one of the most active in promoting bicycle through trails development, signage, and construction of bridges over I-270, and even though the Viers Mill Rock Creek Trail bridge is a Montgomery County Parks Department initiative, hey, it's in Rockville).

Frederick, Maryland is working to attain a positive rating in the BFC program, which again shows the aspirational importance of the program. (See "Bicycle committee presents funding options to Aldermen" from the Gazette.)

That LAB has extended this concept to Bicycle Friendly States, Bicycle Friendly Colleges & Universities, and Bicycle Friendly Businesses further strengthens the environment for practical bicycling. The Arlington County Government is recognized as a bicycle friendly "business" by the League. See the "Bicycle Friendly Blueprint" for more detailed discussion of the framework.

Yesterday, the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center introduced its Walk Friendly Communities program, recognizing the first 11 cities to earn that designation for improving walkability and pedestrian safety, according to the US DOT Fastlane blog entry, "Walk friendly communities offer residents a gas-saving, healthy alternative."

Comparable to the LAB program, the WFC program's Walk Friendly Communities Assessment Tool offers a great deal of guidance on what to focus on in terms of improving a community's walking conditions.

- Community profiles of the designated communities

Platinum Level

Seattle, WA

Gold Level

Ann Arbor, MI
Arlington, VA
Hoboken, NJ
Santa Barbara, CA

Silver Level

Charlottesville, VA
Decatur, GA

Bronze Level

Austin, TX
Charlotte, NC
Flagstaff, AZ
Wilsonville, OR

Honorable Mention

Cedarburg, WI
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Concord, NH
Franklin, TN
Juneau, AK
Louisville, KY
Sparks, NV
Temple Terrace, FL

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