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Tuesday, May 4,2010

Tour de Lansing

City gets award for bike friendliness

by Brandon Kirby
Lyndon Babcock has had multiple sclerosis for 30 years, but he’s been a
bicyclist for 70.  And right now, he’s one of Lansing’s biggest
bicycling advocates.

“Bicycling isn’t just for Lance Armstrong wannabes,” he says.

Babcock
rolled up to Lansing City Hall Monday morning in his low-set
three-wheel bike for a press conference celebrating Lansing’s win of a
bronze-level bicycle-friendly award by the League of American
Bicyclists and the Bicycle-Friendly Community Campaign.

It was
Babcock, a retired engineer and active member of the group Walk and
Bike Lansing, who began filling out a rigorous 20-page application back
in November to try and get Lansing recognized as a bike-friendly
community. Bronze is the lowest level award behind gold, silver and
platinum.

“It’s an ongoing process seeing, really, where we need to improve,” Babcock, 76, said.

Lansing
joins Portage and Marquette in winning the bronze-level distinction
this year. Other communities that have won it in the past are Traverse
City and Ann Arbor.
babcock.jpg
“In the next few years, we need to be even
more bike-friendly,” said Andy Kilpatrick, head
of the city’s Transportation Department. Kilpatrick is also a Walk and
Bike Lansing co-chairman.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko said the award gives Lansing a goal.

 “We need to be the best, and we have the capacity to do that,” Yorko said. “This just puts us on the map.”

Last year before being elected to Council, Yorko helped get a “complete streets”
ordinance passed by Council, which calls for the addition of
non-motorized transportation networks as streets are upgraded.

Lansing
Mayor Virg Bernero said this Bronze award is part of a healthy city
both physically and economically. Bernero, along with At-Large
Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar and Public Service Department Director Chad
Gamble, unveiled a road sign Monday that reads, “Bicycle friendly
community.”

“This is just a springboard for our
community to live up to a higher standard,” said bicyclist John Lindenmayer who is the associate director of the
League of Michigan Bicyclists and co-chair of Walk and Bike Lansing.

Babcock said he is impressed and surprised to see how much got done with Lansing and the BFC campaign.

“This
is just the beginning,” he said. “I’m very competitive when it comes to
having a goal and having something explicit to shoot for that gets
everyone going. I’d be really happy to come back in four years and talk
about that Silver.”




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