SOLANA BEACH — In recognition of its efforts to promote nonmotorized, two-wheeled transportation, the city recently received the silver level League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community Award.
The honor “truly added us to an elite group of other communities across the nation,” City Manager Greg Wade said when he presented the award at the June 13 meeting to Councilman Dave Zito, who sought the designation three years ago.
“Under the leadership of this City Council, the quality of life in Solana Beach is being enhanced through environmental sustainability and active transportation initiatives which have clearly demonstrated the city’s commitment to bicycle friendliness and complete street standards,” Wade said.
“This recognizes our commitment to improving conditions for bicycling within the community and also the city’s investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies,” he added.
Founded in 1880 by “Wheelmen” on high-wheel bikes to get roads paved, the league represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities and a bicycle-friendly America.
Through information, advocacy and promotion, affiliates work to celebrate and preserve the freedom cycling brings to members everywhere, according to its website.
Since the creation of the Bicycle Friendly Community program in 1995, more than 1,500 community applications have been processed, resulting in 450 recognized communities.
Within the county, Solana Beach joins Coronado and Oceanside in achieving silver level status. Chula Vista and San Diego hold bronze level awards.
Wade said the program “emphasizes that bicycling can be a simple solution to some of the challenges we face as a community.”
“Solana Beach and its residents know that bicycling is about mobility, sustainability, health and so much more,” he added. “Local community support and advocacy is also vital.
“Solana Beach is fortunate to have a group like BikeWalkSolana to advocate on our behalf,” Wade said. “This award truly would not have been possible but for the efforts of BikeWalkSolana. They tirelessly give to the community and … particularly with this grant application … which was no small feat.”
He said the process was “thorough and intensive and took quite a bit of effort.”
In addition to recognizing BikeWalkSolana and Zito, Wade thanked members of the Public Works Department for their help.
Zito said the award is a “reflection of the attitude that we have in the city of making sure it’s an active-transportation-friendly city.”
Each year the league assesses all 50 states through a voluntary application process. Award status last four years.
Silver is the third highest level. Recipients can upgrade to gold and platinum.
To reach gold level, Solana Beach can continue to expand its bike network, upgrade existing facilities to increase protection and separation between modes and partner with neighboring jurisdictions on comprehensive plans for better regional connectivity.
The city can also encourage local businesses, agencies and organizations to promote cycling to their employees and customers and seek recognition through the Bicycle Friendly Business program.
Additionally, Solana Beach could work with law enforcement to ensure that enforcement activities are targeted at motorist infractions most likely to lead to crashes, injuries and fatalities among bicyclists.