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River Valley Regional Commission honored for being bicycle friendly

MIKE OWEN

mowen@ledger-enquirer.com

The League of American Bicyclists recognized the River Valley Regional Commission as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business on Friday, putting it alongside more than 1,100 U.S. businesses and two others in Columbus with the bike friendly distinction.

The Midtown Medical Center is a Bronze Level and the Columbus Civic Center is a Silver Level.

Julio Portillo, regional bicycle-pedestrian planner, for the commission, said the commission encourages bicycling as an option for transportation and provides amenities such as indoor bicycle racks, lockers and showers, and incentives such as casual Fridays for employees and access to a bicycle for commuting within five miles of the business.

“We’re very excited by this,” Portillo said. “We focus heavily on the education and encouragement aspect of bicycling for seniors, adults and children.”

The commission provides planning services, including bicycle-pedestrian planning, to 16 counties and 35 cities within its region in southwest Georgia, including the implementation and adoption of Complete Streets, Safe Routes to School, Bike to Work Day, and developing and executing bicycle events throughout the region, Portillo added.

With the distinction, the RVRC will have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly.

Last year, the city was named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who has repeatedly stated that one of her goals is for Columbus to improve on that status, congratulated the RVRC on its accomplishment.

“This is another milestone on our journey to becoming Georgia’s first Silver Level Bike Friendly City,” Tomlinson said. “The RVRC has been a major catalyst for our city’s progress and we are very glad to see them get this recognition.”

In addition to the 22-mile Chattahoochee Riverwalk and the 11-mile Fall Line Trace, the city is working on plans to link the two and add more bicycle/pedestrian paths around town. One such path is currently under construction to link Old Cusseta Road and South Lumpkin Road.

said Amelia Neptune, the league’s Bicycle Friendly Business Program manager, said local business investment in bicycling plays a central role in making the community a safer, happier, and more sustainable place.

“We applaud this new round of businesses, including the River Valley Regional Commission, for leading the charge in creating a bicycle friendly America for everyone,” Neptune said.

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