Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry revealed today that Fort Wayne has won a Bronze Award from the League of American Bicyclists for its forward-looking vision and accomplishments in making the community more bicycle friendly. The accolade enables the City to work with League experts as they perform self-assessments, draft action plans and gain access to other expert assistance.
"We're excited that the League of American Bicyclists has honored our work to make Fort Wayne more bicycle friendly," said Mayor Henry. "By tripling the size of our trail network in just six years and increasing active-transportation opportunities, we are strengthening the fabric of our community, making it easier to get around, reducing our dependence on cars and helping residents stay fit for life."
The prestigious honor comes as Mayor Henry, City staff and community advocates continue implementing a comprehensive program to promote bicycle use. To achieve that goal, the City commissioned the Bike Fort Wayne Plan; dramatically expanded the City's trail system from 20 miles to 68 miles over the last six years; created bike lanes on Rudisill Boulevard and Wayne and Berry streets; installed more than 250 bike parking places throughout the area with inviting green bike racks; and added "Share the Road" signs to the bike network to enhance public safety.
More than 250 communities applied for recognition with the League with only 103 cities receiving the Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze awards, depending on their level of bike friendly accommodations. In bestowing its praise, the League noted that the Bronze Award not only acknowledges work that has been done, but also affords feedback to help identify further steps that can be taken to reach the next distinction level and become a "leading bicycle friendly city."
The League of American Bicyclists honors communities that demonstrate a commitment to increasing bicycling with investments in Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Evaluation and Planning and Enforcement. The Bronze award recognizes a community's strength in one or two of these categories and their intentions to continually improve. In recent years, Fort Wayne has invested in engineering and installing bike facilities -- including trails, bike lanes and bike racks -- in order to increase opportunities for safe cycling. The City's comprehensive bike plan sets the stage for future improvements.
The national tribute is renewable every four years. In order to receive future League recognition, communities must demonstrate continued progress.
"Gaining national attention for our bicycle friendliness is great," Mayor Henry said. "But the real reward is in the way our investments are making us a healthier, more attractive and more livable community, better able to compete for the good jobs, talented workers and business investments that Fort Wayne needs to thrive."
To highlight the community's significant active-transportation advancements, the City's "Bike Fort Wayne" initiative is hosting a full month of activities in support of National Bike Month. The celebration includes National Bike to Work Week this week and National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18.
On May 1, the city kicked off its 3rd annual series of guided community bike rides along its Fort Wayne Trail Network; the series of 27 weekly rides runs through Oct. 2. A complete list of Bike Month and Summer Trail Ride events can be found in the slide show on the City's website at www.cityoffortwayne.org.
While the City is receiving the award, Mayor Henry said credit for the Bronze award must be shared with the City's community partners and residents, who have supported the vision for a bike-friendly city. Those community partners include Fort Wayne Trails, Parkview Health, IPFW, TinCaps Baseball, the Downtown Improvement District, Visit Fort Wayne, Fort4Fitness, the Mayor's Bike Task Force, Three Rivers Velo Sport Club Inc., the Ronald G. Repka Foundation and Bicycle Indiana.