BEND, Ore. -

Cyclists reacted Wednesday to the announcement by the League of American Bicyclists who again named Bend a Silver Bike Friendly Community.

"When it comes to an urban cycling community, I think there is a lot of work to be done with creating bike paths," said Crow's Feet Commons owner David Marchi.

Marchi says Bend is headed in a more bike-friendly direction.

"The fact that they are reevaluating the urban needs, I think that is definitely on their radar," Marchi said.
 
"We are inspired when we see places like Bend making bicycling safer and more convenient," said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. "We know that investment will be returned many times over in the health, environmental, transportation, and quality of life benefits of a thriving, attractive community."
 
The BFC program is transforming the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness.

With this impressive round, there are now 259 BFCs in 47 states across America.

The Silver BFC award recognizes Bend's commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

John Krog, a cycling advocate, says the city is working on several projects, including a redesign of downtown near Drake Park and Franklin Avenue.

"Lots of progress is being made," Krog said. "We have some people who are enthusiastic, who are behind it -- I think (a) gold (rating) is just around the corner."

"It does some things from an infrastructure standpoint that we have never done before, so those are good precedents to set," said Lucas Freeman, the publisher of Bike Around Bend.

The rating is for four years, and must be re-applied for each time, said Jovita Anderson of the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees city transportation planning.. Bend was at the Bronze level before 2009, when it first was awarded the Silver rating; now, that has been extended to 2017.

"Each round seems to get more stringent and data-intensive," Anderson said.

"Bend already has 'complete streets' policies, which have resulted in improved bike lane coverage," said Robin Lewis, city of Bend transportation engineer.

"Bend will be focusing on now closing gaps in the system on older roadways and increasing the enjoyment factor for riding in town," Lewis said.

Future projects such as Reed Market Road between 3rd Street and 27th Street will allow commuters to travel from one side of town to the other.

"This fall we will also be showcasing new facilities on Riverside Boulevard and Franklin Avenue aimed at increasing riding comfort and enjoyment," Lewis said. "These roads will feature cycle track bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, and shared lane markings."

"Both cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes improve the separation of people in cars and people on bikes, similar to the existing cycle track on the Southern River crossing," Lewis said.

Meanwhile, the Bend Police Department will continue bike safety education and enforcement through the Bike Diversion Program, and the city's Engineering Infrastructure Planning Department is working with the community to identify bike facility needs and priorities, as well as implement safety enhancements throughout the community.

"The BFC process is rigorous and the bar is raised with each application," Lewis said. "By measuring our progress, we are able to evaluate areas in need of improvement,"

The BFC program provides a road map to building a Bicycle Friendly Community, and the application itself has become a rigorous and educational tool in itself.

Since its inception, more than 500 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award - diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze - provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
 
To apply or learn more about the free BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.
 
About the Bicycle Friendly America Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycle. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/
 
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.