Fayetteville upgraded to silver level Bicycle Friendly Community

Crews work to install a bridge over Town Branch Creek in April during the final phase of work needed to complete Town Branch Trail, a new 2.2-mile that runs from Frisco Trail just south of Walker Park to Tsa La Gi Trail near the Interstate 49 interchange at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

The League of American Bicyclists has upgraded Fayetteville to a silver level Bicycle Friendly Community, thanks to continued improvements in providing safe accommodations for cyclists and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation.

With the designation, Fayetteville is now one of only 73 communities across the country to have earned the honor, and is the only city in Arkansas to achieve the higher ranking.

Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway and Bentonville are each designated as bronze-level bicycle-friendly communities.

Fayetteville first applied for the status in 2008 and was given an honorable mention. Two years later, the city was officially named a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Dane Eifling, the city’s bicycle programs coordinator, said success does not come as quickly for many communities.

“Fayetteville has come an extraordinarily long way in a very short period of time,” said Eifling. “In less than a decade, we have surpassed over 1,000 communities that have applied and are vying for this position.”

Eifling said the upgraded designation is a result of not only the city’s strides in adding infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies, but also the community’s commitment to bicycling promotion and educational programs.

The city’s assets so far include 40 miles of shared-use paved trails, 30 miles of on-street bicycle facilities, and 30 miles of mountain biking trails. And 10 of the state’s 23 businesses that received a bicycle-friendly status are located in Fayetteville.

“This award represents a tremendous amount of work by our local business community, our thriving local bike shops, our schools which now offer bicycle education at all levels…and by the countless volunteers and non-profits in our area,” said Eifling.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan praised city staff and the community during an announcement ceremony held earlier this month.

Jordan said the city won’t stop here, though.

“Yesterday’s dream of going from a bronze to a silver has turned into today’s reality,” Jordan said. “But we will continue moving forward, building approximately 2.5 miles (of trail) each year and look forward to achieving the next level of bicycle friendliness.”

» See the full list of nationwide bicycle-friendly communities, businesses and universities