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Monday, March 18,2013

Bikes in the light

Lansing-area bicycle advocates receive national acclaim

by Fiona Guo

Wednesday, March 23 — Mid-Michigan is attracting national attention for its efforts to improve non-motorized transportation routes.


The League of Michigan Bicyclists, based at 416 S. Cedar St., Michigan State University and the Michigan Fitness Foundation in Old Town took home awards at the National Bike Summit on March 8 in Washington, D.C.


The league won the best campaign of the year for its efforts to get Michigan municipalities to adopt “complete streets policies,” which essentially prioritize accommodating all forms of transportation — motorized and non-motorized — in planning processes.


MSU was one of 20 nationwide universities recognized as a “Bicycle Friendly University,” while the Michigan Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit physical fitness advocacy group at 1213 Center St. in Old Town, was named one of 55 new “Bicycle Friendly Businesses” across the country.


“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized at the national level. We put in a lot of time and energy. We are really pleased that this is a success we have received both at the national and local level,” said John Lindenmayer, associate director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists.


According to the League of Michigan Bicyclists, 33 state municipalities have complete streets policies. Lansing was the first to adopt a complete streets ordinance in August 2009. East Lansing and Lansing Township are in the process of drafting theirs. To ensure these policies are more than documents sitting on the shelf, the league works to plan non-motorized routes that integrates pedestrians and bicyclists into the urban transportation system.


“Complete streets are the first step and one of the most important steps to build bicycle-friendly communities,” Lindenmayer said.


As for the future, Lindenmayer said the league will continue offering training opportunities for engineers, planners and elected officials throughout the state to learn what complete streets are and best practices for how to implement them.


The League of American Bicyclists, a nationwide bicycle advocacy group, hosted the summit in Washington.

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