By Bruce Cohen - November 24, 2014
Four years ago the town of Hagerstown decided that they needed to improve their bike-ability. Last week, the League of American Bicyclists finally recognized their efforts and awarded them Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) status. This is great news for the city and is a great reward for all of their improvements.
Readers may remember that a couple of weeks ago Nate and I visited Hagerstown to meet with cyclists on their Bicycle Advisory Committee, ride the Hub City Loop, attended a Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting and met the dedicated town staff. We were blown away by what we saw in Hagerstown, a completed ten mile loop connecting city parks and other amenities, bicycle lanes, and work with other nearby communities to provide connectivity between them. The map (yes, a printed map!) shows visitors and residents the on-road facilities, friendly roads, and how to connect through Williamsport to get to the C&O Canal. They even have a Bike Month with activities and celebratory rides almost every day of the month.
While in 2009 there were no bike facilities, now there is a ten mile loop with more bike lanes popping up every day. Thanks in part to the Bikeways grant program, Hagerstown has come a long way in just a few short years, and everyone at Bike Maryland is impressed. We called the League the day after our visit to let them know that Hagerstown is committed and is rocking bike-ability. We are so excited for all that Hagerstown have done and are looking forward to advising them on future projects.
Bicyclists may remember that in 2010 the City of Baltimore was awarded bronze level Bike Friendly Community status. Baltimore’s BFC standing expires this year, but the League of American Bicyclists has decided to extend them a period of grace, as is customary. We are working with Baltimore City to improve the situation and are making recommendations, just as we will do for all communities in Maryland interested in pursuing increased bicycle access. In recent weeks we have met with Baltimore City officials to ensure that Baltimore’s bike friendly status is maintained while preserving the integrity of the award.
12/11 Update: Herald-Mail’s article about Hagerstown’s accomplishment.