Presidio of San Francisco (September 25, 2008) -- The League of American Bicyclists announced this week what many Bay Area cycling enthusiasts already knew: the Presidio is one of the best places in the country for bicycling. The League again named the Presidio a Bicycle Friendly Community, awarding it the group's silver designation, making the Presidio just one of nine communities nationwide to reach that level of recognition.
"We try to encourage and facilitate biking at the Presidio. We're truly proud of this award. I think it's a real acknowledgement that the improvements we've made in the past several years, and are continuing to make, are making the Presidio a noticeably better place for bicyclists", said Mark Helmbrecht, transportation program manager for the Presidio Trust.
The Presidio Trust along with its partners, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and National Park Service, are in the midst of implementing the Presidio Trails and Bikeways Master Plan. Once complete, more than 24 miles of major trails and 19 miles of in-road bike lanes will welcome visitors to explore the Presidio's diverse and scenic landscapes. These improvements are being funded thanks in large part to a generous challenge match grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Among the projects currently underway are expansion of the Presidio Promenade that will go past the new Crissy Field overlook and connect the Lombard Gate with the Golden Gate Bridge via the recently completed Battery East multi-use trail; extension of the Park Trail through the center of the park that will provide easier access to Crissy Field for people in the city's Richmond district; and improvements to the popular bike lane along Washington Boulevard.
In addition to the new bike lanes and trails, the Presidio was honored for bike racks and lockers, bike access to its free shuttle system, a Bike to Work Day event that attracted more than 400 riders, and a partnership with the YMCA to provide bicycle safety education and training.
On any given day an estimated eight percent of Presidio employees bike to work. "That's pretty remarkable," says Helmbrecht. "That's about four or five times the national average."
The League first recognized the Presidio with a bronze designation in 2003. There are four levels€”platinum, gold, silver and bronze€”awarded twice each year.
"Each of the communities has high levels of bicycle use and has demonstrated a commitment to improving conditions for all types of cyclist from the student and avid mountain biker to the casual visitor and everyday commuter," said Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists.
Since the program's inception in 2003, 96 communities in 32 states have received Bicycle Friendly Community designations. Reviewers looked at each community's efforts to incorporate bicyclists into their transportation plans and to promote bicycling in their communities; enforcement of traffic laws for both motorists and cyclists; and traffic and bicycle safety education for children and adults.
With more than 300,000 members and affiliates, the League of American Bicyclists (www.bikeleague.org) promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small city as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate."