California has continued its climb up the ranks of bike-friendly states, moving up to third in the nation, according to an annual list released by the League of American Bicyclists.
The jump from 19th place in 2008 can be credited in large part to the state’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and additional funding for active transportation projects.
“This survey has provided an opportunity for Caltrans to measure our advances and gauge our goals for improvement, and these rankings show that we’ve come a long way as a state,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We will continue our efforts to ensure California’s transportation system is safe, convenient and accessible for all users, while also making sure all Californians have more livable and economically vibrant communities.”
The continued rise in California’s rankings can be credited to a multi-tiered effort by Caltrans to increase options and safety for bicyclists as part of its approach to a multimodal transportation system.
The report card notes that California has a state Department of Transportation that is increasingly committed to ensuring the safety and comfort of people who bike and is on the verge of establishing new standards and practices that will be a model for other states.
California’s adoption of its first-ever State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is part of that multi-tiered effort and was a significant contributing factor to the state’s jump in scoring.
The plan has allowed California to lay out a blueprint to fully integrate bicycling and walking into the fabric of the California transportation system. It is also Caltrans’ roadmap to achieve the department’s ambitious goals to double walking and triple bicycling trips by 2020, and reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities by ten percent each year.
The state has also increased the funding for its Active Transportation Program from $130 million to $230 million per year. California’s Active Transportation Program is the largest of its type in the nation and will continue to fund much of the state’s walking and bicycle projects. The bicycle and pedestrian projects funded by the ATP not only encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, they also support sustainable communities and healthier, low-carbon travel choices.
The Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant program’s funding also increased from $10 million to $35 million. These grants support cities, counties, agencies and transit operators in their efforts to integrate transit, bicycling and walking into their local transportation plans.
Past grants have included planning for bicycle and pedestrian paths and for connectivity of multimodal options such as light rail and bus service to biking or walking.
California’s report card can be found [here].
For more information about the Bike Friendly State Program and the League of American Bicyclists, visit http://bikeleague.org/states.