Sequim earns ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’ status

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– With its world-class trail, wide streets and, of course, its sunshine, Sequim has been recognized for its friendliness to bicycles.

The 134-year-old League of American Bicyclists has granted the city the title of being a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Sam Chandler of Ben’s Bikes, 1251 W. Washington St., filled out the lengthy questionnaire that assess everything from off-road trails to engineering for bicycle facilities and bike safety courses for youth.

“We’ve got such a great cycling infrastructure and a really well-stocked community,” Chandler said.

“It just seemed like we were exactly fit for this.”

City officials said the distinction reflects an effort to make the city more rideable for bicyclists.

“It’s something we’ve found when we do surveys about what people want in regards to activities recreation,” City Manager Steve Burkett said.

“And obviously, Sequim is a good place for bike riding, because it’s relatively flat and the sun likes to shine.”

Communities that make the cut are given either bronze, silver, gold or platinum awards and are provided with sets of brochures that can be displayed around the city, as well as a posting on the League’s website.

“It’s something that we’ve always checked when we go to places,” Chandler said.

“I know a lot of people look to it when figuring out where to stay.”

Port Townsend is a silver level community, holding the distinction since 2008, and Sequim was designated bronze.

Eleven other Washington cities and 303 across the U.S. hold the distinction.

The league also ranked Washington as the nation’s most bicycle-friendly state for the seventh year straight.

“It’s been really great to see how the trail has been improved and gotten more use,” said Jeff Bohman, president of the Peninsula Trails Coalition.

“We’re kind of attached to it.”

The coalition is a group dedicated to maintaining and improving trails for bicyclists, hikers and horse riders on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The Peninsula Trails Coalition’s 25th annual meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Dungeness River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road in Sequim.

“I have to say the number of volunteers that help maintain that trail was a big piece of our application,” Chandler said.

“You can always build something, but it takes a whole lot more to keep it up.”

Chandler said the limited signage of bike routes through Sequim put it in the bronze class.

Last year, the city painted chevrons on the incomplete portions of the trail that run along Blake Avenue, Fir Street and Sequim Avenue in Sequim.

Burkett said the city would like to improve the trail through the city with more bike lanes and signage, but funding is limited.

“As you know, with any public works project, funding is an issue,” Burkett said.

He hailed the efforts of volunteers like the trails coalition and Chandler submitting the Bicycle Friendly Community application as helping pick up some of that slack.

“It’s another example of volunteers stepping up to do things that help make the city a better place,” Burkett said.

Chandler noted the city received the distinction just before the league’s annual Bike to Work Day push which encourages workers to ride bicycles in lieu of driving to work this Friday.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 12. 2014 6:42PM
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