By Patrick Lynn
The City of Stevens Point was given the “Silver” designation on Wednesday for being a bicycle-friendly community.
The designation was awarded by the League of American Bicyclists.
According to a news release from the city, the designation “honors the efforts of the City of Stevens Point has taken to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.”
The designation is an improvement from the city’s previous label as a “Bronze” level awardee. The city has participated in the program since 2016.
“We always do our best to make sure everyone in our community feels safe and welcome,” Mayor Mike Wiza said in the news release. “This designation asserts that we are achieving our goal. I am proud of everything we have accomplished as a community and even more proud that our work is getting noticed by groups like the League of American Bicyclists. We still have a lot of work to do, but a recognition like this is surely a nice feather in our community’s cap.”
Trevor Roark, who chairs the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Street Safety Commission, called the new designation “exciting.”
“It’s very exciting to be part of a community committed to action in achieving transportation equity on our streets—something many cities around the country strive for,” he said. “This award re-energizes our community’s commitments to realizing a more bikeable, walkable, and livable city. We can credit much of the increase in award level from the implementation of the city’s most recent Transportation Alternative Program grant, which added 13 miles of bicycle infrastructure to the city.”
The TAP Grant, awarded to Stevens Point by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 2016, funded 80 percent of just over 13 miles of new bicycle lanes in the city. Those bicycle lanes were installed, about $226,000 over budget, this summer.
Community Development Director Ryan Kernosky said the destination helps the city compete with peer communities, like those in Appleton, Eau Claire, and La Crosse when it comes to attracting young professionals to the community.
“A walkable and bikeable Stevens Point is what the next generation of [the] workforce is looking for,” Kernosky said. “This award is one small step to a more resilient community at all levels.”
Stevens Point is one of only 494 municipalities recognized as “Bicycle Friendly” out of the 850 communities that have applied for recognition by the Bicycle Friendly Community program. Along with bicycle accessibility, the program also considers community engagement events like Bike to Work Day, municipal evaluation systems of bicycle infrastructure, public education, and enforcement.
The Bicycle Friendly Award has five levels: Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and includes an Honorable Mention category. For more information go to bikeleague.org/community.