Springfield encouraged to pursue "Bicycle Friendly" designation

Last year Springfield applied for the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community designation and was turned down. An editorial in the News-Leader encourages the city to fix what needs to be fixed and apply for the designation again:
The top recommendation called for expanding the bike route network to include more striped bike lanes on arterial streets. The current network employs mostly residential and feeder streets, a trade-off of constant stops and indirect routes for lower speed limits and less traffic.

Adding bike lanes wide enough to make a difference will be difficult on many of Springfield's major streets. But it is vital if bike commuting is to grow beyond a committed cadre. There's also a need for places to park and lock bicycles — something often overlooked in a car-dominated society. . . .

The rejection letter also suggested starting a Safe Routes to School program for the benefit of younger riders. This would match well with a program that evaluates walking routes to schools and should have happened even without the effort for a bike-friendly designation.

As the school district reduces bus transportation, more kids have to ride bikes to school. It is more of a necessity for them than it is for adults. . . .

This is a quality of life issue, offering one more alternative for the diverse population that lives in Springfield. Some people can't do without a car. Others are happier if they can enjoy fresh air and exercise to clear their mind on the way to and from work. A truly bike-friendly community provides that, regardless of how it is labeled.

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