On Centre: Centre Region | COG officials to explore ways to maintain bicycle-friendly status

cpassant@centredaily.comJune 27, 2013 

Seeing people riding their bikes to work, to the university or just for pure enjoyment is no anomaly around the Centre Region. Each day, scores of cyclists ply the vast array of bike paths, bike lanes or dirt trails.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Last year, the Centre Region earned a bronze-level designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. That means the area earned high marks in engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation efforts relative to bicycling, according to the League.

For the record, it’s a big deal. Pennsylvania ranks 15th in the nation and No. 6 in the East for being bike-friendly. Washington, Colorado and Oregon are the top 3 in the nation.

But to live up to the ranking, bike-friendly communities must work toward continuously improving. And on Monday, the Centre Region Council of Governments Transportation and Land Use Committee will take a look at an array of short- to long-term initiatives that should not only excite bicyclists, but even non-bike-riding residents.

Why? Great bike trails and initiatives increase the value of their communities, making them attractive to families, businesses, students and tourists. And that’s a quality of life issue with a good deal of return on the investment.

At the meeting, set for 12:15 p.m. in the Centre Region COG building, a status report will be given on bike-friendly community recommendations as well as the formation of a bicycle advisory committee. From those recommendations, the group will be able to prioritize the goals and create the advisory team.

The goals have been broken down into three terms: Short, which is within one to five years; Medium, which is six to 10 years; and long, 11 to 15 years. The short-term goals include things like creating the advisory group, expanding the bike network, developing a comprehensive bike plan and increasing the number of wide shoulders on roads.

Long-term goals include considering an ordinance that would require large employers to provide bicycle amenities and working with the mountain biking community to develop a plan for off-road access and increase opportunities for single-track riding within the city.

You can check out all the recommendations at www.statecollegepa.us/DocumentCenter/View/7021.

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