Santa Monica Community College earns Bronze Level!

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Congratulations to Santa Monica Community College (SMC) for being awarded a Bronze Level designation from the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Friendly University℠ program (BFU). You may recall the City of Santa Monica received a Bronze designation in May 2009 and raised it to Silver in 2013. SMC joins thirteen colleges in California that have made the list in the last few years – now totaling 100 nationally in 37 states and Washington DC.

The BFU℠ program has been in place since 2011, and just as the City of Santa Monica and SM City Hall applied, schools or businesses etc. must also apply for the award by filling out a lengthy application. Amelia Neptune, the Bike League’s program manager says of the BFU program “We try to create an application that offers flexibility, so small colleges with few roads can still brag about what they’re doing for bicyclists, even though their needs are very different than large universities.”

“Campus leaders are recognizing the real-time and long term impact that a culture of bicycling can create,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We applaud this new round of colleges and universities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their staff, students and surrounding communities.”

Genevieve Bertone, Director of Sustainability, Center for Environmental and Urban Studies at SMC had this to say “Receiving this certification was not easy, it took a great deal of effort from many contributors including the Transportation Task Force, the SMC Bike Club, SM Spoke and SM Bike Center and all the many engaged students.” Special congratulations are extended to SMC student and 2013-14 Bike Coordinator, Cade Maldonado who led this effort. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with SMC Bike Club, Cade and all the SMC Bike Coordinators and students over that last few years!

California ranks in the top 10 Bike Friendly States at #9 (up from #19 in 2013) much of that due to state wide efforts of the California Bicycle Coalition, some engaged elected officials, regional campaigns and advocacy like at LACBC and it’s local chapters, i.e. Santa Monica Spoke. Check out the California Report card here. See what we aspire to here in Attributes of a Bicycle Friendly State.

The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. The League’s Bicycle Friendly America℠ program provides a roadmap, hands-on assistance and recognition for states, communities, universities and businesses. The BFA℠ program is a tool for states, communities, business and universities to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people. As leaders, their commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

I invite you to join us locally to become a part of that momentum for change.

The League sends out a survey to campus users at the schools that apply, in addition to consulting with local cyclists and advocates. Each application is judged on how well it fulfills bicycling needs in five categories:

  • Engineering (bike lanes, fix-it stations, showers, bike lockers)
  • Education (campaigns, bike maps, classes —academic classes on bike planning, for example, as well as safety/skills classes)
  • Encouragement (bike clubs, events, and rides)
  • Enforcement (bike registration programs, ways to recover lost or stolen bikes, police training on bike laws and safety, police bike patrols and policies)
  • Evaluation and planning (campus bike planning and programming, policies, goals; systems to track the number of bike riders or parking)

To earn the Bronze-level award, a college has to have at least one program in all five categories and excel in one of them. Santa Monica College, with a Bronze-level designation, offers organized rides, education classes, a mentoring program for new riders, information to incoming students, faculty and staff about programs groups and riding on campus, huge new bike corral, and bike valet parking at events. SMC also has a cash incentive program for employees who bike, walk, carpool, or take transit to campus.

To earn a Silver-level award, a school needs to excel in two of the categories; for Gold it would require excelling in three to four categories . To get Platinum, excellence in all five categories is required. California has two Platinum universities, UC Davis and Stanford! As an shining example of Platinum level, UC Davis offers information, bike valet parking, bike tours and rides, car-free days on campus, commuter events, campus-wide traffic calming measures with speed limits of 20 mph or lower on campus streets, bicycle roundabouts and colored bike lanes, and car-free zones on campus. All that helps foster a campus culture where bicycling is the norm. I visited there and took a tour last year during the CalBike Conference – is was AWESOME! Bikes everywhere – and so much more!

As Amelia Neptune explains, the award isn’t just about letting bike-friendly universities gloat. “One of most satisfying things about this program is when a school who didn’t win — who got honorable mention or something — takes our feedback, then reapplies after a few years, and wins,” said Neptune. “They use the feedback we give them on their application to create a plan, to organize a committee, and respond, improving their bike facilities and programs.”

About the Bicycle Friendly America℠ Program: The Bicycle Friendly Community℠, Bicycle Friendly State℠, Bicycle Friendly Business℠ and Bicycle Friendly University℠ programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycle in collaboration with Benchmarking Reports of The Alliance of Biking and Walking. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America℠, visit www.bikeleague.org/BFA

I’ll post a follow up on local Bike Friendly designations. For now these are the colleges that have earned designations as Bicycle Friendly Universities in California:

Platinum

  • University of California, Davis
  • Stanford University

Gold

  • University of California, Santa Barbara

Silver

  • University of La Verne
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (new)
  • California State University, Long Beach

Bronze

  • University of San Diego
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Pomona College (new)
  • Santa Monica College (new)

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