LA county named bike friendly community

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By Phil Scherer

For three years, Los Alamos County’s Public Works Department has been taking steps to get the county recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Thursday morning, the hard work paid off, as the county was named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community.

Los Alamos County joins more than 400 communities around the country that have been honored by the league at various levels. It is also just the fourth community in New Mexico to earn the distinction, joining Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.

Santa Fe is recognized as a silver tier community, while Albuquerque and Las Cruces are alongside Los Alamos on the bronze tier.

According to its official website, the League “represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities and a bicycle-friendly America.”

Los Alamos County was one of 65 communities honored this year by the league, either as a new, or renewed, Bicycle Friendly Community.

In a press release, Bill Nesper, the executive director at the League of American Bicyclists, said, “We are encouraged by the growing number of leaders who see bicycling as a way to build more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected communities and be a part of the solution to many complex challenges faced at both the community and national levels.

We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as we move closer to our mission of creating a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”

In 2016, Los Alamos County submitted an application for consideration, and was given honorable mention recognition, with guidelines on how they could earn medal status in the future.

After receiving the feedback, the county looked at the recommendations, and began taking steps to meet more of the league’s requirements. After taking the necessary steps, the county submitted its 2017 application in August.

The major step taken was the adoption of a bike plan, which outlines the county’s current goals for improving the biking experience in Los Alamos County, as well as future goals for improving infrastructure.

The goals outlined in the bike plan, which was approved by the County Council on June 27, include “enhancing and facilitating bike use for residents and tourists”, “creating more and better bikeways as part of the transportation network” and “improving the public image of bicycling as a safe mode of travel.”

The big-picture goal of the plan is to create a system where all people could theoretically use a bike as their main form of transportation.

The plans for infrastructure improvements include the completion of the second phase of the Canyon Rim Trail system, and obtaining a sizeable federal grant to design and construct a shared-use underpass for the canyon Rim Trail beneath NM 502 near the Coop at Entrada Drive.