One of the longer-term goals for Bike & Walk Sebastopol is for the city to obtain Platinum status for Bicycle Friendly Cities from the League of American Bicyclists. Only two US cities have gained this status, including Portland and Davis.  By comparison, New York City and Washington, D.C. are both Bronze; San Francisco is currently Gold. Platinum for Sebastopol is admittedly an ambitious goal, given our size (and physical constraints), but it can help guide us as we move forward with various improvements ranging from bike racks to Class I bike paths.

How do we move toward recognition at any level?

The BFC guidelines note:

Applicant communities are judged in five categories often referred to as the Five Es. These are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award. Communities with more significant achievements in these areas receive superior awards. Filling out the BFC application is an education in itself, as communities see where they are lacking in each of these categories.

Bike & Walk Sebastopol and Sebastopol Safe Routes to School both have roles in three of these categories — Education, Encouragement, and Evaluation & Planning. Lynn Deedler, a member of Bike & Walk Sebastopol, has been scouting out possible routes for Class I bike paths parallel to both highways, but separated by a block or more. The bike paths would be a longer-term project and would need to go into the next revision of the countywide bike & pedestrian masterplan, but the addition of either route would greatly enhance Sebastopol’s bikeability. Bike & Walk Seb. is also working on additional bike racks for the city that will make for better downtown bike parking.

In the Engineering category, the City, through its Street Smart Sebastopol program, will be making a number of intersection improvements this year, though more remains to be done, including establishing the bike lanes on SR 116 and SR 12/Bodega Ave. designated in the current Bicycle and Pedestrian Masterplan. Other budgeted improvements will be additional bike signage for Morris Ave. Some of the items in the City’s masterplan Should the bike paths be put in the plan, the City and County will need to do quite a bit of engineering and planning to make them a reality.

Enforcement is an ongoing need and has been a topic of discussion in both the Bike & Walk Sebastopol group and Sebastopol Safe Routes to Schools; once the routes are established, the Sebastopol Police Dept. will be in a better position to enforce safety along them.

Platinum? Might be a stretch, but there’s quite a bit of good energy going toward making Sebastopol a more bicycle-friendly community.