By Will Mackman
Bike lanes, StreetsAlive!, Great Rides Bike Share – it’s hard to believe none of these existed in Fargo-Moorhead 10 years ago.Bike lanes, StreetsAlive!, Great Rides Bike Share – it’s hard to believe none of these existed in Fargo-Moorhead 10 years ago. When looking back only a decade we can see we are pedaling in the right direction to become a more bicycle-friendly community.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed. In November the Fargo-Moorhead area was named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
“We are proud to join the ranks of other communities who have been recognized as a bicycle-friendly community,” said Dan Farnsworth, Transportation Planner with the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Council of Governments (Metro COG).
In 2013 Metro COG began working with local jurisdictions in collecting information and completing the application for the Bicycle Friendly communities designation.
“We applied because we really felt the F-M area is bicycle-friendly, and we wanted to see the F-M area recognized as such,” Farnsworth said.
The League of American Bicyclists recognizes communities that are bicycle-friendly based on a variety of criteria, ranging from miles of bicycle infrastructure to education programs to local bicycle policies. The League categorizes communities into five tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. There are 326 Bronze, 71 Silver, 21 Gold, four Platinum and zero Diamond communities in the nation.
Minnesota has 15 Bicycle Friendly communities. The Fargo-Moorhead area and Greater Grand Forks are the first cities in North Dakota to earn the designation -- both attained it in November.
The designation reveals the communities’ strengths as well as areas that could be improved. After a community applies, the League of American Bicyclists provides a ‘report card’, which suggests ways the community can become more bicycle friendly. Communities may continue to apply in hopes of earning a higher designation.
The F-M community continues to roll forward with efforts toward becoming more bicycle-friendly. In March the Great Rides Bike Share program launched, providing the public with 101 state-of-the-art bikes and 11 docking stations. NDSU was one of the leading advocates for the new bike share, and the school has helped foster the tremendous success Great Rides has experienced.
Each of the three colleges in the FM area is taking a big stride toward becoming a more bicycle-friendly campus this year. MSUM hosted a ‘Bike Basics for Students’ course on Earth Day to celebrate bicycle education. Concordia College hosted its First Annual Cobber Riverside Bike Ride on April 19, which is part of Concordia’s larger effort to seek Bicycle-Friendly University accreditation this August. If awarded BFU designation, Concordia will become only the third university in the state to do so.
Similarly, the F-M Community Bicycle Workshop plans to apply for Bicycle-Friendly Business designation this July. If awarded, the bike shop would become the first BFB in North Dakota. With several of its universities and businesses applying for bicycle-friendly accreditation this year, Fargo-Moorhead will have a great opportunity to improve on its own Bronze Bicycle-Friendly Community designation when it re-applies in the next couple of years.
Signs showcasing the designation are planned for installation later this year along some local roadways. An unveiling of the first sign is expected to occur during the StreetsAlive! event at 3:30 p.m. June 14 on the NP Avenue/Center Avenue Bridge over the Red River.
Sun, June 14, 3:30 p.m. NP/Center Avenue bridge
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