On Dec. 9, the city of Ann Arbor announced in a press release that Ann Arbor was named a “Gold-level bicycle friendly community.” This distinction was given by The League of American Bicyclists.
“The award recognizes Ann Arbor for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices,” the press release stated.
There are six possible distinctions for cities to be honored as by the Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program, diamond, platinum, gold, silver, bronze, or honorable mention.
According to their website, as of Dec. 2021, there are 496 bicycle-friendly communities across the United States. Some of the BFA’s goals are “sets standards for what constitutes a real bicycling culture and environment,” and “rewards persistence as people respond to feedback, make changes and come back again and again to get recognition.”
When applying for this award, the city cited multiple initiatives including the 26 miles of all ages and abilities network with 72 miles more planned, 20 lane miles of planned bicycle facilities to be installed in the next four years, and the William Street and First Street protected bikeway.
“This honor is a testament to the hard work of the City of Ann Arbor, our elected officials, our partners, and the community at large,” stated City of Ann Arbor Transportation manager Raymon Hess in the press release. “Collectively, we are working together to give people safe and sustainable choices in travel to all the places they want to go.”
Biking-related developments have been constantly appearing over the last decade in Ann Arbor. From 2010 to 2015, it was estimated that the Vehicle Miles Traveled in Ann Arbor would increase by 0.65%. In 2015, the city made it mandatory for new developments to include bike holding stations or lockers to promote bike riding and safety.
These goals are working towards a larger vision with this being one of the facets of the A2 Zero plan to reduce Ann Arbor’s carbon footprint and become carbon neutral by 2030.
The fourth strategy in the plan is to reduce the miles we travel in vehicles by 50% which includes “deploying smart metering and establishing dynamic pricing. Excess on street parking in the Downtown Development Authority will be removed and replaced with more beneficial street uses, such as infrastructure for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, and street activities.”
In Dec. 2021, the city recommended approving a new 2023-2028 capital improvements plan. Within this $1.4 billion plan, they hope to add a bicycle pump track somewhere in Ann Arbor. This track would be a place for locals to come and ride their bikes. A pump track is somewhat different than other bike trails because the curved nature of the track allows for less actual pedaling and more “pumping” movements.
Bicycle-based engagement efforts are ongoing from the city and will be expected to continue at least until 2030, if not beyond. To learn more about what the city plans on doing to meet A2Zero goals, one can attend City Council, Energy Commission, Environmental Commission, or City Planning Commission meetings. The calendar of meetings can be found HERE.