Marquette receives silver bicycle award

MARQUETTE – Marquette now is a Bicycle Friendly Community with a silver designation.

The League of American Bicyclists recently gave Marquette the silver recognition, an upgrade of its bronze designation awarded in 2010 in recognition of the city’s support of bicycling.

“Since that time, bicycling has gained in popularity in Marquette, and efforts to support bicycling have continued to grow,” said Mike Beck, a member of a citizens’ group, the Marquette Bikeability Committee.

Beck spoke to the Marquette City Commission Tuesday about the silver award.

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail, the city’s multi-use path, the Noquemanon Trail Network, races and events and the fast-growing sport of snow biking, Beck said, are valued as “cultural and recreational gems” in the community.

In the fall of 2013, the city officially submitted a Bike Friendly Community renewal to the league, he said, with the announcement of the higher designation coming last week.

“Marquette is one of only 60 cities in the United States to achieve this level of achievement, and is only one of three in Michigan to receive a silver award,” Beck said. “This puts Marquette in the company of the top three bicycling communities in the state, which include Houghton and Ann Arbor.”

The silver status will run through 2018.

The Bicycle Friendly America program, according to the league website, provides a road map, hands-on assistance and recognition for communities, states, universities and businesses. The program also is a tool for them to make bicycling a transportation and recreation option for everyone.

Brad Neumann, another member of the bikeability committee, said the BFC status involves five “E’s”: education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation.

“On behalf of the bikeability committee, I would ask the commission and the city for a partnership in moving forward in terms of pushing those five E’s even further, to make Marquette an even better place to bicycle,” Neumann said.

Mayor Robert Niemi said the designation came about as a collaborative effort.

“Certainly, we as a city try to do all we can for bicycling, but we can’t do it alone, and here’s just two examples of a much larger group that is enabling the city to do this, and it’s not just city government, it’s the whole community, and that’s who’s getting the award,” Niemi said while receiving the award from Beck and Neumann.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.