Saturday, May 28, 2011

Twelve Simple Reasons

TWELVE SIMPLE REASONS WHY SHOREWOOD SHOULD APPLY TO BE DESIGNATED AS A BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY

1.     Being designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists helps us to publicize what a wonderful, vibrant, healthy place Shorewood is to live, play, work and locate a business. 
2.     Convincing others that Shorewood is a wonderful, vibrant, healthy place to live, play, work and locate a business helps us to retain and attract residents, employers and businesses.
3.     There are currently only four Wisconsin communities designated as BFCs (Milwaukee, Madison, La Crosse and Eau Claire), and a BFC designation would help our community differentiate Shorewood from our competition.  If we are designated as a BFC, we would be the first town or village in Wisconsin to win that designation.
4.     There is no application fee for us to apply for the BFC recognition.
5.     If we obtain a BFC designation, the League of American Bicyclists provides us at no charge road signs to promote the recognition, and the League and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin publicize our designation on their website and in press releases.
6.     Shorewood should be able to obtain a BFC designation, because as a bike town, we’ve got a lot going for us already:
a.    Shorewood--situated as it is between Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River--is one of the best places to bike in Wisconsin, if not the World;
b.    Shorewood has 5.7 miles of paved bike paths total (2.3 miles of bike/pedestrian trails, and 3.4 miles of marked on-road bike paths), plus roughly 1 mile of unpaved informal single track bike paths along the river – an extraordinary number of miles of bike paths for a village of our size;
c.    Shorewood has recently made an important investment in improving its bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure through the construction of a new and popular bicycle and pedestrian bridge across Capitol Drive;
d.    Over 2 miles of the beautiful Oak Leaf Trail, one of the World’s best bike paths, travels through Shorewood;
e.    The Oak Leaf Trail and Lake Drive, coupled with the Village’s close proximity to downtown Milwaukee, makes Shorewood an ideal place to live if one wants to bike to work in downtown Milwaukee; and
f.     The Village’s intelligent design and compact size make it possible to bike with relative ease to schools, grocery stores, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, bike shops, flower stores, houses-of-worship, gyms, pools, beaches, parks, places-of-employment and just about anyplace one wants or needs to go in the Village.
7.     Shorewood is the home to some great bike-related events, including the June Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic, the annual Estabrook Park Cyclocross Tournament, and our Fourth of July Parade (which prominently features cyclists and future cyclists of all ages). 
8.     The process of applying and/or obtaining a BFC designation should help to promote more biking in Shorewood, and more biking in Shorewood is good, because biking helps:
a.     to promote healthier kids;
b.     to contribute to adult physical fitness;
c.     to promote strong families;
d.     to get kids outdoors;
e.     to decrease traffic congestion;
f.      to reduce pollution;
g.     to reduce demand for foreign oil;
h.     to save money;
i.      to reduce demand for auto parking spaces;
j.      to lower stress;
k.     to reduce depression;
l.      to decrease obesity;
m.    to fight heart disease;
n.     to fight cancer;
o.     to fight stroke;
p.     to fight the growing diabetes epidemic;
q.     to decrease rates of smoking; and
r.      to decrease crime.
(See  www.bikesbelong.com for full citations to the numerous research studies that show the benefits that bicycles provide to individuals and communities. )
9.     If we apply, and the League of American Bicyclists declines this year to grant our application, the League provides the Village a “roadmap” of specific things we can do to improve our bike infrastructure, our bike regulations/protection/enforcement, and our bike related programs and events.
10.   The future belongs to communities that are pedestrian and bicycle friendly – applying for the BFC designation helps Shorewood get to where we want and need to be. 
11.   The League of American Bicyclists currently ranks Wisconsin as the third most bicycle-friendly state in the United States (Wisconsin was ranked second behind Washington State for the last 3 years, but in 2011 slipped to third behind Maine, primarily due to some recent decisions made by the new administration), and Shorewood’s becoming a BFC can help Wisconsin advance its position relative to other states. 
12.   Because WFB isn’t doing it (and likely couldn’t win the designation, if it did apply)!

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