by Robert Gardner, Think Green Correspondent
In February, the College submitted its first-ever application for recognition by the national organization’s Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program. The application was based on a report developed by the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF), the organization that operates the College’s award-winning Campus Shuttle.
The application highlighted the College’s major achievements for bicycling over the prior two years, including the hosting of the LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly (for the past seven years, in fact). The annual fundraising event attracts thousands of cyclists and runners to the Blue Bell campus each year. Also, the College will host rideAtaxia in Blue Bell on Sunday, October 13, 2013.
In addition to these important events, the college earned recognition for its friendly treatment of bicycles and their riders. The majority of College’s bike friendly initiatives have taken place at West Campus in Pottstown, where cyclists can find five bike racks that accommodate 24 cycles. Students, faculty, and staff are offered no-cost use of bicycles through the Bike Pottstown Free Bike Share program, and they can access 12 “cruiser” style, single-speed bikes at the Schuylkill River Academic and Heritage Center.
Efforts to encourage bicycling—from lower on-campus speed limits to permitting bikes within its buildings—fall within the parameters of the Climate Council’s Action Plan and, thus, reduce the institution’s carbon footprint.
In a email dated April 16, 2013, BFA’s Communication Director Carolyn Szczepanski thanked the College for its inaugural application and delivered the news of an honorable mention. She also stated that feedback would be offered to assist the College with its next application.
While improvements will be necessary in order to achieve Bike Friendly University status, Montgomery County Community College is proud to be considered among the national leaders in promoting the safe use of bicycles as a healthy, alternative mode of transportation.