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Jefferson City might resurrect bicycle committee

Jefferson City might resurrect bicycle committee

June 29th, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

In this Aug. 24, 2013 photo, a man rides his bicycle down Jefferson City's High Street as others enjoy sitting at the outdoor tables and shopping.

Photo by Shaun Zimmerman

POLL: What bicycle-friendly amenity would you like to see most in Jefferson City?

Jefferson City's Environmental Quality Commission will consider recreating a bicycle subcommittee to ensure cycling safety and education.

The purpose of the committee, which the Environmental Quality Commission would oversee, is to create a cycling culture in Jefferson City by providing education and safety courses, creating more resources and hosting events.

A bicycle subcommittee existed in the early 2000s, but it is unknown when it was created or disbanded.

"We want to reignite that and really have three, four, five members who are really focused and fired up about supporting that initiative," said commission Vice-Chair Ashley Varner, who presented the idea.

The commission will vote on the proposal July 26.

Varner, healthy communities coordinator and wellness navigator at Capital Region Medical Center, said the city is applying to be a bicycle-friendly community, a designation awarded by the League of American Bicyclists. If awarded this designation, it would mean the city is welcoming of the bicycle community and could be another way to draw in tourists, Varner said.

To receive this designation, the city has to gain a certain number of points, awarded for different things the city does to promote cycling, such as installing more bike racks, creating bike lanes and hosting cycling events. These points are turned into ranks: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond.

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The city applied for the designation last year but did not receive it, Varner said.

The small group trying to receive the designation includes Varner; city Transportation Planner Alex Rotenberry; City Engineer David Bange; and Kathy Craig, health educator in the Bureau of Community Health and Wellness.

Rotenberry said the number of bicyclists in the community has increased, which is why the city is doing more to encourage cycling.

The small group got the idea to bring back the bicycle committee after applying for the bicycle-friendly designation.

"It made us figure out what we have now and what we can do to get better," Rotenberry said. "It's an eye-opening experience because you're like, 'Here's all the things we could be doing, but we had no idea, had never conceived the idea of doing this kind of bike ride or having an educational experience like this.'"

According to the League of American Bicyclists' website, seven Missouri communities are bicycle-friendly: Clayton, Ferguson, Columbia, Kansas City, Lee's Summit, Springfield and St. Louis.

People with suggestions for ways to make the community more bicycle-friendly can contact Varner at 573-632-5605 or AVarner@crmc.org.