Thursday May 8, 2008
Louisville is adding miles and miles of bike lanes to city streets. It’s building a 100-mile hiking and biking trail called the Louisville Loop, and it hosts a twice-yearly Hike and Bike that attracts more than 4,000 people.
Those are some of the reasons that Bicycling Magazine has named Louisville as one of the Top 3 Most Improved Cities for cycling, along with Washington D.C and New York City. The June issue hit newsstands this week.
“This is a great honor for our city,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “In Louisville, we already know we’re making major strides to make our city bike friendly. It’s nice that others are recognizing our work.”
Louisville was marginal for biking prior to 2005, according to the magazine.
“It had no bike lanes, a measly two shared-use paths and a number of halfhearted-but-never-implemented plans for bike-friendly facilities,” the article states. “But faced with several challenges — traffic congestion, the need for downtown revitalization, his city’s obesity problems — Mayor Jerry Abramson saw the positive impact bikes could have when he visited bike-city friendly Vail, Colorado.”
That visit spurred to a citywide Bike Summit, which led to the Bike Louisville plan. The city now has a bike and pedestrian coordinator, 30 miles of bike lanes and last month Abramson opened the first 23 miles of the Louisville Loop.
“In fact, Louisville has been churning through its to-do list so quickly that another bike summit is in the works for early 2009,” according to the article.
Abramson said Louisville residents should be honored that the city has some so far, so quickly in biking.
“It’s now common to see people biking into work on weekdays – and biking with their families on the weekend,” he said. “People are increasingly turning to bikes as a safe, fun and healthy way to move around our city.”
The national recognition that Louisville is receiving is also helping to attract bicycling events to the city.
From June 30 to July 6, USA Cycling will hold a national championship road race in Louisville. The city will also host its second Ford Ironman Louisville competition in August, and cyclocross events are planned at Champions Park on River Road this summer and fall.