Reinforcing its commitment to making bicycling a safe, practical transportation option, Bikes Belong Foundation today awarded Salt Lake City $25,000 as part of its REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) Best Practices Grants. The award will fund construction of Salt Lake City’s first protected cycle track, which the city hopes to replicate in multiple locations. In Salt Lake City, bicycling increased 27 percent from 2010 to 2011.
In 2011, national outdoor retailer REI provided the Bikes Belong Foundation $100,000 to expand its Bicycling Design Best Practices Program. The Program showcases the best models for bicycle transportation from Europe and North America to help U.S. cities make bicycling a safe and practical choice for short trips. Specifically, the REI Best Practives Grants are available to cities whose leaders have participated in a Bikes Belong Best Practices workshop or study tour and have an REI store in their metropolitan area. The grants support new or redesigned bicycle infrastructure in recipients’ hometowns based on what they’ve experienced in the world’s best bicycling cities.
“The generosity from Bikes Belong and REI enables us to accelerate our commitment to safe cycling and enhance our bicycle infrastructure,” said Becka Roolf, bicycle/pedestrian coordinator at the Salt Lake City Corporation. “Cycling is part of Salt Lake’s DNA, and with this grant, more people will be able to reap the benefits that bicycling provides. We are so happy to be able to announce this, especially as Outdoor Retailer Winter Market comes to town, in a community that shares our passion.”
“We are most grateful to REI,” said Bruno Maier, vice president of Bikes Belong. “This financial support is critical to communicating our mission to city leaders, engineers and people around the country about how bicycling can be an important part of the fabric of daily city life.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, other REI Best Practices Grants recipients include Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
Bicycling is experiencing unprecedented growth in U.S. cities as mayors and transportation officials appreciate the multiple benefits and low cost of investing in bicycling. The number of frequent bike commuters grew 40% nationwide in the past 10 years and 62% in America’s 70 largest cities, improving public health, decreasing traffic congestion, and saving city governments costly road maintenance and parking-related expenses.
Forty percent of all trips Americans make are two miles or less, a distance that can be quickly and easily traveled on two-wheels.