Grand Forks and East Grand Forks are reapplying for national status as a “bicycle-friendly community.”
If recognized by the League of American Bicyclists, Grand Forks could be the first North Dakota city with bike-friendly status through the organization, which lists no bike-friendly communities in the state.
Bicycling is growing in popularity both nationwide and in the Grand Forks region, said Kim Greendahl, Greenway specialist for Grand Forks and moderator of BikingtheForks.com.
Grand Forks and East Grand Forks previously applied for bike-friendly status in 2005 and 2006, but received an honorable mention both years, Greendahl said.
The nearest bike-friendly communities include Minneapolis, which has a gold ranking, Sioux Falls, S.D., with a bronze ranking, and several smaller Minnesota towns that ranked bronze, according to the League of American Bicyclists website.
Greendahl said she hopes Grand Forks-East Grand Forks is at least ranked bronze this year, and can work its way up.
“What they’re judging is ‘Do you take biking seriously?’” she said.
Recent community conversations about bicycling in Grand Forks have been positive, she added. “It’s been a good discussion, but we have a long way to go.”
When Grand Forks and East Grand Forks previously applied for bike-friendly status, some of the areas that reportedly needed improvement were: bike parking, street visibility for bicyclists and education about biking, Greendahl said.
Since then, there have been updates to each of those areas, including more bike racks downtown and more designated bike lanes, she said. Also, earlier this year, Grand Forks approved its first sharrows, or arrows painted on the street to indicate bikes and cars sharing the road.
Also, there is an inventory at the website that Greendahl is asking members of the public to fill out to help the city note on the application all of the different ways people can ride and park their bikes.