Bicycle Friendly Communities in the Northwest Section

Chris Comeau, AICP-CTP, Transportation Planner, Bellingham Public Works

As 2020 – a year full of exceedingly bad news - came to a close, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) issued new rankings for Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFCs) across the United States (US), which included some much-needed good news for two cities in the Northwest Section of APA Washington.  

The City of Bellingham, which has been ranked as a Silver BFC since 2007, was 1 of only 2 cities in the US promoted from Silver to Gold BFC, with more details in this press release.  The City of Anacortes, which has been ranked as a Bronze BFC since 2013, renewed its ranking as a Bronze BFC.  

To put this into broader perspective: 

  • 2 Gold BFCs – Seattle and Bellingham;

  • 4 Silver BFCs – Bellevue, Ellensburg, Port Townsend, and Redmond; and 

  • 12 Bronze BFCs – Anacortes, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Kenmore, Kirkland, Liberty lake, Port Angeles-Clallam County, Sequim, Shoreline, Spokane, Tacoma, Walla Walla, Wenatchee Valley

The rigorous LAB BFC application process is an educational tool in itself and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists and active transportation advocates to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community. 

The five levels of the BFC award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts, but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards, and community-driven best practices.