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Bettendorf’s investments in separated trails, recreational trails and bike lanes have earned the city a spot on the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communities list.

The league awarded Bettendorf this week with an honorable mention designation, marking the city as the most “bikeable” community in the Quad-Cities.

At first, Bettendorf’s Parks & Recreation director Steve Grimes said he was somewhat disappointed that the city did not receive a bronze designation, but later he admitted just getting on the league’s radar is important.

“Bronze was a pretty lofty goal for a first-time designation,” he said. “This was a good start.”

Every year, the league ranks each state on how “bikeable” they are, and Iowa currently is ranked the 25th “most-bikeable” state, four spots lower than its 2013 ranking. Washington state is first, and Illinois ranks 11th.

Businesses also can apply for the designation to become honorable mention, bronze, silver, gold and platinum members. Iowa has 13 bicycle-friendly businesses, none at this point in the Quad-Cities.

Iowa City, the state’s “most bikeable” community, holds a silver designation, while Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and University Heights carry bronze designations.

Fairfield joined Bettendorf on this year’s honorable mention list.

Bruce Grell, owner of Healthy Habits Nutrition and Bicycles in Bettendorf, said the city’s commitment to becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community coupled with the fresh designation will help attract younger residents.

“That type of active lifestyle with cycling commuters is becoming a lot more important to the generations below mine and the people who are starting families,” Grell said. “Not everybody wants to be the stereotypical soccer mom having to always drive everywhere.”

Grell, who wants to put his store on the bicycle-friendly business map in the future, hopes Bettendorf will continue to make improvements for commuting cyclists.

“Having not just a great path system for recreation, but the actual commuting aspect will help improve Bettendorf’s standing,” said Grell, who pedals to work, the grocery store and the bank on a regular basis. “There’s always going to be room for improvement on that.”

Over the past five years, Bettendorf has spent $7.5 million to improve the city’s infrastructure for cyclists. Before this construction season, the city had approximately 13 miles of separated trails, 12 miles of recreation trails and about two miles of on-street bike lanes.

Bettendorf’s Bicycle Friendly Community Committee has proposed an additional 19 miles of separated trails and five miles of bike lanes.

Grimes said he will continue to encourage more people to get out on the trails and use them to commute and shop.

The city also recently formed the Bettendorf Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which combines forces with the police department and school districts.

The league judges communities on their current and future trail plans, education and enforcement of bicycle safety and laws, and how well an advisory committee evaluates and encourages biking in the community.

Grimes said the city will apply for the designation again next February and thinks a bronze level is reachable.

“A lot of it is just community involvement, doing more things like the loop ride (held last weekend) and educating people about the trails and how to use them,” he said. “I think we’ve got room to improve, but I think a lot of that is very doable.”

Check out BIKEIOWA's Pages regarding:

Bicycle Friendly Communities in Iowa
Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Iowa



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