Bikes Belong and REI Award BikePGH a Bike Friendly Community Grant

Bikes Belong, the U.S. bicycle industry organization dedicated to putting more people on bicycles more often, in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists and with generous support from REI, have announced the five REI/Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Grant Awards for 2009, and BikePGH is a recipient!

These grants of between $10,000 and $20,000 have been awarded to grassroots groups that are working closely with their city governments to make conditions better for bicycling in aspiring and designated Bicycle Friendly Communities. The grants provide seed money for program development, bicycle master plans, infrastructure improvements, and innovative pilot projects. The League’s BFC staff will also provide grant recipients with consulting expertise to help us prioritize and reach bicycle-friendly goals and best practices.

Although Pittsburgh is not designated as a “Bicycle Friendly Community,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has committed to applying for the status by 2010. Currently, no cities in the state of Pennsylvania have achieved “Bicycle Friendly Status.”

Applicants for this invitation-only grant program were asked to present their high-priority bicycling projects within the framework of the BFC program’s five Es—Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation—and explain how they’d execute these initiatives if funding were available.

Bike Pittsburgh is tackling two of these “Es,” education and encouragement, through public outreach. We are developing a local Bicycle Friendly Employers Program (soon to be launched) and expanding the popular Pittsburgh BikeFest—an annual 10-day event that celebrates cycling in the city—to include a criterium race and ciclovia event. We’re also funding the reprint of the now famous Pittsburgh Bike Map. We were also cited for our strong relationship with Pittsburgh’s new bike-ped coordinator, and will serve as a principal adviser on the soon-to-be updated Citywide Bike Plan and cycling investment strategy.

There were four other organizations that also received the award, BikeDenver, The LivableStreets Alliance of Boston, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

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