Commission backs city as bicycle friendly

MARQUETTE – The Marquette City Commission unanimously gave its support this week for a local group to continue efforts to keep the city a Bicycle Friendly Community.

The Marquette Bikeability Committee plans to submit an application in February to the Washington, D.C.-League of American Bicyclists, based in , to keep the BFC designation. In 2010, the city received a bronze award for its efforts to incorporate and promote bicycling.

Designations, which are given in four-year cycles, are given at platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels.

Brad Neumann, chair of the bikeability committee, told the commission the committee worked to renew and upgrade its designation.

Neumann said the committee has addressed the burgeoning snow biking movement and mentioned the expanse of the Noquemanon Trail Network and the multi-use pathway in the city as notable features.

“Certainly we think Marquette has a lot to showcase in regard to the recreation network that we have here,” Neumann said.

Neumann also pointed to the steps the city has taken, including re-striping and slowing traffic, to move to a “complete streets” approach accommodating bicyclists as well as pedestrians, motorists and non-motorized traffic.

Commissioners voiced support for the group’s efforts to keep the city a Bicycle Friendly Community.

“I think it’s a great idea, and I think it’ll move along Marquette being more safe and friendly,” Commissioner Mike Coyne said.

Mayor Pro Tem Fred Stonehouse agreed the designation is important.

“It raises our visibility,” he said

Commissioner Don Ryan also supported the effort.

“There’s no question bicycling has become a big part of the image of Marquette,” Ryan said.

However, although Ryan said the area’s trails are good for bicycling, further education is needed regarding rules of the road.

“I think there are a lot of questions in people’s minds about that,” Ryan said, “I think the only way we’re going to solve that is through education.”

He said the appropriate education should be provided to handle traffic issues in the city.

“Hopefully we can find good ways to deal with them,” Ryan said.

Neumann said the League of American Bicyclists looks at five “E’s” for its communities: empowering (with proper infrastructure), education, enforcement, evaluation and encouragement.

“It’s putting on events, getting people out there and getting people feeling comfortable cycling,” Neumann said about the encouragement aspect.

“All of these components make for a Bicycle Friendly Community,” he said.

Commissioner Dave Campana said: “That really defines Marquette and makes it a special place.”

Ryan said bicycling also represents a healthy lifestyle.

“This is not just a matter of recreation,” he said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is