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Gresham upgrades to Silver Status as a bicycle friendly community

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Gwen Kleeman, left, along with her 7-year-old dog, Funny, and Judy Williams ride bikes on the Gresham Springwater Corridor Trail.The League of American Bicyclists has raised Gresham's status as a Bicycle Friendly Community to a silver level designation.

In 2009, the city received its first bronze level designation from the league, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes biking across the U.S. More than 700 communities have applied for Bicycle Friendly status since the program began in 2002, but only 326 communities have earned it. Independent panels judge applicants on the "five Es" — engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning — necessary to promote safe, fun biking.

Gresham was elevated to silver status this week by the league due to several factors, including new buffered bike lanes, improved bike lane road markings, and stronger education outreach.

Gresham also has forged important new partnerships with groups such as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

Chris Strong, Gresham's transportation division manager, said the award upgrade is evidence of the sustained, strategic attention his staff is paying to cycling.

With 10 miles of trails and more than 117 miles of bike lanes, Gresham is a haven for cycling enthusiasts. The city has created a bike map with local cyclists, hosts an annual Transportation Safety Fair and Bike Rodeo, and recently launched a Safe Routes to School program to promote biking and walking among schoolchildren.

"Gresham has the gift of natural beauty and lots of trails, and we're proud of the amenities we offer to cyclists," Strong said. "Because the League award goes all the way up to diamond status, we have higher targets to aim for. We will continue to reduce traffic congestion, boost safety, and encourage bicycle use for all Gresham residents."

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