Jefferson City has millions of dollars invested in an underutilized form of transportation and recreation.
Cycling has been around for generations, but only in recent years has the city, sometimes with the help of state and federal funding, made major investments to further its use.
Over the past quarter century, the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has created an interconnected linear park throughout Jefferson City known as the greenway. It's perfect for cycling, as well as walking, running or in-line skating.
A bike bridge was added onto the Missouri River Bridge to make it easier for cyclists to come and go from the north side of the Missouri River (including the Katy Trail). They no longer have to take their lives in their hands by riding alongside cars on the main bridge.
Most recently, the city has created bike lanes on select streets in the city.
All of this has happened as fewer kids are learning pedal power can get us to a friend's house, a nearby neighborhood, a park or an area store. For previous generations, it was an important step toward spreading our wings and beginning to explore our world. Now, kids — along with their helicopter parents — don't embrace cycling as much.
Yet we wonder why the obesity rates are skyrocketing.
Should Jefferson City continue to try to get kids and their parents on bikes? City officials think so, and they're wanting the public to take a survey as part of the city's application to be designated as a bicycle-friendly community.
Earlier this week, we reported an application for a national bicycle-friendly community designation was submitted in August by a group containing members and employees from the city, the Bureau of Community Health and Wellness, the Jefferson City Police Department and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The BFC designation is through the League of American Bicyclists, an organization promoting bicycle-friendliness in communities. The LAB asked the city to submit online surveys from the community to "gain a better understanding of local bicyclists' experiences," according to a news release.
We encourage residents to take the short survey, which can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/BFC_FA17_JeffersonCityMO. It will be available until Sept. 30.
The results could help shape the future of cycling in Jefferson City and help the city become the eighth Missouri city to be designated a bicycle-friendly community.