KC biking efforts in high gear

biking-Kansas City is constantly working to upgrade its position as a bicycle city and will apply for silver status next year.

“The further development of Kansas City as a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community is crucial for our growth,” Councilman Scott Wagner said Friday.

He talked biking and walking at a press conference celebrating Bike to Work Day, which is part of Kansas City bike month.

The League of American Bicyclists named Kansas City a bicycle friendly community at the bronze level in 2011.

Such communities can be bronze, silver, gold or platinum.

The ultimate city goal is to become platinum by 2020, but it will apply for silver next year.

Bicycle friendly and walk friendly community programs provide communities with recommendations for bike and walking improvements.

Officials said the city has made great progress in both categories.

It has 65 miles of shared use trails, more than 11 miles of sharrows (shared lane markings), 30 miles of bike lanes, more than 40 new bike racks and “Bike Route” signs covering more than 352 lane miles.

The city is a third of the way to its goal of creating a 600-mile street biking system, officials said.

“The Public Works Department is leading the effort toward becoming a better place to bike and walk whether for transportation or recreation,”said Sherri McIntyre, director of public works.

A new study shows the city is moving to meet a national demand.

The number of people commuting to work on bicycles has increased 60 percent, the Census Bureau report found.

It went from 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 for the period from 2008 to 2012.

The rate of bike commuters in Kansas City went from .1 percent of workers in 2000 to .3 percent. The number of those walking to work remained about stable nationwide. In Kansas City, it declined slightly from 2.3 percent to 2.1 percent of workers.

The census report found that the rate of men commuting on bikes is .8 percent, more than twice the .3 percent for women.

BikeWalkKC this spring started a women’s bike initiative to get more women on bikes. It includes interviews with 12 local women who ride bikes.

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