When you think of the world’s great bicycling cities, you may not immediately think of Cottonwood — but that doesn’t mean it’s not making headway.
“In the past, the city had created bike lanes with new roads,” Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens said. “After I became mayor — with a council that supported the policy — all our new streets have had bike lanes and sidewalks installed. In 2012 the League of American Bicyclists designated Cottonwood as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Bronze level.”
According to Joens, since that time, the city has taken numerous steps to increase the safety of riding bicycles and the overall use of bicycles.
“With support from City Manager Doug Bartosh in using staff for this purpose, local bicyclists have created a Bicycle Advisory Committee with Recreation Service Supervisor Hezekiah Allen leading the charge,” Joens added. “The group has written an application to apply for a silver award, and we’re all very excited about that.
“The City Council has been very supportive of bicycle accommodations such as bike lanes, shared-lane markings and bike racks. Most Cottonwood Area Transit and Lynx busses accommodate bicycles, also.”
Cottonwood Community Services has taken the advocacy one step further, however.
During the May 3 City Council meeting, Allen and Community Services General Manager Richard Faust put forth a motion allowing “city staff who ride their bicycles to and from work during the nationally recognized Bike to Work Week, May 16 to 20, to receive one paid hour off on the days on which they commute.”
According to the Bicycle Advisory Committee, “A recent study by the American League of Cyclists showcased the rejuvenation of a business district in Memphis, Tenn., based partly on bicycle commuters. According to business owners in Memphis, the lanes slowed down traffic and people started noticing the businesses more. Over the past several years of the program, business revenues have grown on average 30 percent per year in a tough economy.
“By adopting this strategy, Cottonwood can be seen as a leader in continuing to develop a cycling culture in the Verde Valley, assist in employee fitness, spark economic activity and ultimately see cost savings pertaining to organizational insurance premiums.”
The motion passed 5-2, with council members Tim Elinski and Jesse Dowling voting no. The cost will be absorbed by the city’s general fund.
Joens will participate in the Mayor’s Ride at Garrison Park, Saturday, May 14 at 9 a.m. Join her as she rides her way around the city.
|Bicycle Month Programs|
|Saturday, May 14: Mayor’s Ride at 9 a.m., followed by the Bike Rodeo at 9:30 a.m., Garrison Park.
May 16-20: Bike to Work Week.
Wednesday, May 18: Ride of Silence at 5 p.m., Riverfront Park.
For more information, contact the Cottonwood Recreation Center at (928) 639-3200.