League of American Bicyclists Introduces "Diamond" Bike-Friendly Status

For nearly a decade, the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities program has been challenging cities to greater heights. Nearly 50 communities have been recognized as either “bronze,” “silver,” “gold” or “platinum” bike-friendly communities, based on criteria like infrastructure, education and safety statistics.

Portland will set its sights higher, following the LAB's new "diamond" challenge. Photo: ##http://bikeportland.org/2008/10/30/portland-bike-traffic-up-28-over-last-year-10125## Bike Portland##

Yesterday the League announced it is “moving the goal posts.” The League introduced the “diamond” level bike friendly community designation, a rank above the previous platinum pinnacle. The League said cities around the United States have made so much progress that it’s time to start competing with international models.

That might be just the encouragement Jonathan Maus’ already-platinum city needs, he wrote yesterday on Bike Portland:

Portland leaders spent over two years on a coordinated effort to attain Platinum status. That effort began in 2006 and ended in triumph when the League deemed Portland the first-ever major city to win the award. But with such a push for Platinum, many local advocates have grumbled that once achieved, it made Portland even more complacent and pleased with our own progress.

[Bicycle Transportation Alliance Oregon] leader Rob Sadowsky is a member of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America National Advisory Group and he has been pushing internally for the higher standards.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Tom Miller was featured in the League’s official press release on the announcement, saying that Diamond is, “something Portland will actively pursue and ultimately achieve.”

For his part, Sadowsky has already put out what he thinks it will take for Portland to get the Diamond ring: “We need more recreational trails, both paved and mountain biking. And we need to get our crashes down.”

“Attaining Diamond designation will involve an individualized challenge tailored to each community,” according to LAB. “The League will conduct a detailed audit for each city and work with community leaders to create clear 5-, 10- and 15-year goals for important factors like bicycle mode share, land use, crashes, network connectivity and bike culture.”

Elsewhere on the Network today:  Greater Greater Washington explains how Portland has inspired a lot of the capital city’s progress on transportation reform. Seattle Bike Blog says advocates are pressing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to maintain funding for Safe Routes to School. And This Big City looks at the rise of the shadow transit providers that are ubiquitous in New York City’s outer boroughs.

  • Anonymous

    The only way to get European levels of bike ridership is to do European-style land use planning. You are not going to get 35% of people biking to work in suburban Portland, Austin, or Minneapolis no matter how good the bike facilities are.

  • Miles Bader

     “We need more recreational trails”

    Er, what?  That’s what he’s worried about?!

    How about “trails” that go somewhere? Oh wait, that would be hard.

  • I would recommend setting the standard higher, rather than adding a new level. I wonder how can a city be a “gold” (or platinum) bike friendly level if the modeshare is below 10%? I understand having these titles encourages cities to strive for better, but of course the most telling sign of a bike friendly city is one where bikes are accommodated everywhere and the majority of people see bicycling as a viable mode of transportation. Based on what I know of Portland’s support, modeshare, and politics I would reduce Portland’s ranking to silver. Maybe a requirement to achieve “gold” should be having modeshare above 10% and above 20% for platinum? In most cases the modeshare will be reflective of how bike friendly a city is.

  • Miles Bader

    Seriously.  I think even the great world examples have a lot of improvement they could do.

    I live in Tokyo, which has like a 20% cycling mode-share, but almost no dedicated bicycle paths.   In some ways it has great cycling infrastructure (vast amounts of bicycle parking, for instance), but there’s also enormous room for improvement.

    Even Copenhagen, with a ~45% mode-share, whose name has become almost synonymous with cycling, has its share of problems, and could improve.  For instance, one often reads on the copenhagenize blog how the Copenhagen city government is still quite car-focused in its transportation planning, and the vast majority of development money goes towards car infrastructure!

    I guess the problem is that if measured on such a scale, no U.S. cities would score above “lead” or so; maybe that’s just too depressing…

  • AdamDZ

    Yup. Trails that get you places, be it a mall or a state park or a school. They can still be “recreational” but utility needs to come first.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

League of American Bicyclists Introduces “Diamond” Bike-Friendly Status

|
For nearly a decade, the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities program has been challenging cities to greater heights. Nearly 50 communities have been recognized as either “bronze,” “silver,” “gold” or “platinum” bike-friendly communities, based on criteria like infrastructure, education and safety statistics. Yesterday the League announced it is “moving the goal posts.” The […]

The New Wave of Bike-Friendly Suburbs

|
Central cities don’t have a monopoly on making cycling a safe and convenient choice for residents. In the latest round of the League of American Bicyclists’ bicycle-friendly communities program, several suburbs made a strong showing. The League’s Liz Murphy shares a few examples of the suburban communities that won recognition for their efforts: Suburban towns, […]

The New Wave of Bike-Friendly Suburbs

|
Central cities don’t have a monopoly on making cycling a safe and convenient choice for residents. In the latest round of the League of American Bicyclists’ bicycle-friendly communities program, several suburbs made a strong showing. The League’s Liz Murphy shares a few examples of the suburban communities that won recognition for their efforts: Suburban towns, like […]

How a Group of Young Bike Advocates Are Reshaping Reno

|
Reno, Nevada isn’t known for safe streets or retaining its young people. But according to Jessica Reeder at Shareable Cities, that’s starting to change. Reno’s bike safety efforts recently earned it honors from the League of American Bicyclists. And the credit is due in large part to a group of young people who are working […]