BUCKHANNON – With Morgantown as the only city in the state to have earned the designation “Bicycle Friendly Community,” Buckhannon is hoping to follow suit as it continues to make strides with downtown bicycle and pedestrian-friendly accommodations.
Recently, the city has applied to be designated as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” through the League of American Cyclists.
“This is another tool to let the community and visitors know that the city is welcoming and easy to get around, whether by bike, on foot, with a stroller or mobility device, or with a motor vehicle,” said Callie Cronin Sams, city grant writer and information coordinator.
Though there is no grant application directly associated with the designation, Sams advised that if the city is tagged as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” – or even just applies for the designation – it demonstrates the city’s commitment to “Complete Streets” designs and making the sidewalks and streets accessible to all users.
“This will be useful in future grant applications, such as the West Virginia Department of Highways Transportation Alternatives Program and Recreational Trails grants,” she added.
To determine Buckhannon’s rating as a bicycle-friendly community, the city is asking residents to complete a public survey that takes 10-15 minutes.
Aside from the potential designation, the data collected will be useful for the city’s planning process, as the information can be used in planning streets, sidewalk and trail projects.
The survey ends Sunday, March 24. Residents can take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/app_BFC_SP19
In past years, the city has put in effort to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists, with the Riverwalk Trail and extensions, bike racks on Main Street and two-wheel parking spaces as notable accomplishments.
Sams said the city continues to make improvements to sidewalks, increasing ADA-accessibility around town.
“I’ll note that in addition to those who use a wheelchair or other mobility enhancing device, these improvements are very useful to people pushing a stroller, walking their bike, or using a delivery cart or other tool,” she said. “They also reduce trip-and-fall incidents, keeping our seniors and the general population safer.”
Currently, the city’s street department is paving sidewalks that will link Trader’s Alley to Jawbone Park, an accommodation to attendees making their way through downtown for summer festivities.
“I am excited to have a smooth route from Festival Fridays at Jawbone Park directly to Main Street for dinner or ice cream afterward while pushing my daughter in her stroller or pulling her in the bike trailer,” Sams said. “It’s nice to have that option and not be right along South Florida Street traffic.”