The OC Wins Bronze!

On 10/18/2012 Orange County was awarded a Bronze  Bike Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists  as you can see from the snippet  of new awards. OC BronzeBFC

Despite our coverage of injuries and fatalities in the best and worst cities in the county, we’ve also been hard at work at some of the positive aspects of cycling in the County of Orange.

Moving from Honorable Mention to Bronze has not been easy, and required a lot of time and dedication on the part of many to get to this point.

Activities in District 4 under the leadership of Shawn Nelson calling for cities to collaborate on connected bikeways and actually doing something about it certainly helped in detailed league feedback.

Partnering with the OCTA, the OCBC brought stakeholders to the table to submit the application and guide the process forward.

Specifically, Dan Hazard (co-founder of the Huntington Beach bicycle Advocates (HuBBA)) and Pete Van Nuys of the OC Bicycle Coalition, Sandy Boyle, Carolyn Malmorado, and Wes Parcel of the OCTA formed the core, and brought a dozen or so local bicycling experts to review the application and make suggestions, with others that provided credible and enthusiastic endorsement for a bronze award.

Not one mayor was harmed by a taxi in our upgrade to bronze, although we note the City of Los Angeles also was awarded a Bronze award under the leadership of hizzoner Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as covered by bikinginla.

Teamwork Pays Off

Looking forward, there’s a lot of positive momentum here in the OC despite some recent setbacks.

For example; this week the City of San Clemente’s Planning Commission voted to adopt, with some minor amendments, an 88 point draft of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan that will be incorporated into the Circulation Element of San Clemente’s updated General Plan if approved by the City Council sometime early next year.

Once approved by the Council, the documents head north for legal review by the State Attorney General’s office and if everything is in order, sent back to the City Council for formal adoption probably around May at the earliest.

Any delay anywhere along the line slips the probable adoption date and the resultant benefits that the plan would provide.

Due to the lengthy time involved in crafting, negotiating, reviewing, amending, and all the other fun like public review and comment, cities in the OC  contemplating updating their circulation element with a bicycle plan as part of their General Plan update should quit the contemplation, and get started now.

With more cities adopting bicycle plans into their circulation (and even land use) plans, and coordinate and collaborate with their neighbors in connecting commuting bikeways, we may have a shot at earning a Silver!

What Does It Mean?

According to the people that hand out the awards, cycle-commuting in BFCs tends to increase faster than non-BFC’s, thus reducing pollution, decreasing congestion, and generally providing a healthier and more sustainable quality of life in addition to driving up the national cycle-commuting average ; which in turn leads to more BFCs, more cycle-commuting…well you get the idea.

In other words, a BFC designation increases the likelihood of a positive feedback loop to the betterment of all.

With that in mind, an award is not an endpoint, it is a degree of validation from an external source that confirms whether a community is on track or not with their measurement standards with respect to bicycle investment in the 5 “E’s”:

  1. EncouragementOCBronze
  2. Education
  3. Engineering
  4. Evaluation
  5. Enforcement

While it’s nice to have the whole County be recognized from the outside, we’ve got more work to do so we’ll get back to it.

Thanks to all who’ve helped bring the County to this point, clearly we’re on the right track, and we look forward to your continued support going forward.

Thanks OC!

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