Steamboat Springs The League of American Bicyclists recently awarded the city of Steamboat Springs a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community designation, to the surprise of city officials.
"We were very happy to get the silver award," said George Krawzoff, city transportation director. "The silver really exceeds our expectations."
Steamboat was one of seven cities honored with a designation from the league's most recent round of applications. Seventeen communities applied. Steamboat was joined by Santa Cruz, Calif., in earning a silver designation. Bronze designations were awarded to Lexington-Fayette County, Ky., Liberty Lake, Wash., New York, Santa Clarita, Calif., and Spartanburg, S.C.
"The league is delighted to recognize Steamboat Springs for its efforts to welcome bicyclists and make bicycling safer and more enjoyable," said Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists.
The league's designations range from bronze to platinum and also include honorable mentions. Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord agreed with Krawzoff that the city exceeded expectations.
"We were hoping to maybe be bronze," DuBord said.
The league makes its determinations based on five categories: education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation. The league noted that Steamboat "has a strongly integrated off- and on-road bicycling system, featuring some of the best single-track in the country."
Krawzoff said the league would provide suggestions for how the city can improve its designation to gold or platinum in the future.
"We encourage Steamboat Springs to continue its steady work to improve conditions for bicycling and try to achieve a gold level in a year or two," Clarke said. "None of the communities we've designated have been satisfied with the level of their award. They all want to do better; they want to do more to encourage bicycling, and they want to move up to the next level. We are confident Steamboat Springs can do just that."
Krawzoff said the city hopes to place signs boasting its designation at entrances to the community, and efforts are under way to arrange an awards ceremony with the League of American Bicyclists and the Steamboat Springs City Council.
Krawzoff said the city's efforts to provide bike lanes and corridors have been well received and that local cyclists are asking for even more.
"I've never seen more people riding their bicycles in Steamboat Springs than I saw this summer," Krawzoff said.
Since 2003, 174 communities have applied for a designation from the league, with 70 earning the reward.