If you’re on a bicycle in Somerville, you can get there from here. The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the city’s continued commitment to creating a bikeable community with a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community designation, only two years after the city earned a Bronze level designation. Somerville now joins a number of cities including New York City, Philadelphia and Boston receiving this level of recognition for its efforts to promote bicycling.
The City of Somerville has installed more than 25 miles of bike lanes and sharrows in the last three years and in May held a groundbreaking ceremony for the extension of the Somerville Community Path from its current end at Cedar Street to Lowell Street, with the city strongly advocating for the Path’s future extension to Boston. In 2012, Somerville joined the Hubway bikeshare system with 12 stations garnering thousands of rides monthly, and since 2011 has added over 200 new bike parking spots to city streets as part of a regional bike parking program. Investment in infrastructure has been complimented by safety programming including an informational poster and PSA campaign, increased police enforcement, and cycling education in schools.
“We have seen the impact of our investments in bicycle infrastructure, with biking up 56 percent over the past two years in Somerville according to our counts,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said. “It’s not just social infrastructure, however, that makes it easier to get around, live a healthier lifestyle and be kinder to the planet. It is economic infrastructure. Bicycle infrastructure connects people to mass transit and jobs. It brings more customers to local businesses. In turn, it also attracts developers, who see a vibrant, active city with bustling streets filled not with faces seen through car windows, but out walking or biking. We have already earned recognition as the 10th most walkable city and 8th most bikeable city in the nation, but we won’t be satisfied until we’re number one.
Since 2002, the League of American Bicyclists has received nearly 600 applications for designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community, and Somerville is among 291 Bicycle Friendly Communities in 48 states across the nation awarded the honor. The program assists communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while giving them a way to measure their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness.
“Somerville is playing a critical part in creating a truly Bicycle Friendly America,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know Somerville’s investment in bicycling will be returned many times over in the health, environmental, and quality of life benefits of a thriving community.”
To apply or learn more about the free BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community. For more information about bicycling in Somerville, visit the city’s page at http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/ospcd/transportation-and-infrastructure/planning-for-bicycles.