Huntsville ranked among top cities for bicyclists

Huntsville ranked among top cities for bicyclists

No city in the southeast is better for bicyclists than Huntsville, according to a national bicycling group.

Colorado-based PeopleForBikes recently released its national rankings of the Best Cities for Bikes and Huntsville ranked tied for 37th overall out of 509 city’s ranked. Among those tied with Huntsville with an overall score of 2.8 was Memphis – the only other southeastern city to rank as high as the Rocket City.

In the “acceleration” ranking, however, Huntsville was third nationally. The organization defines its “acceleration” category as indicating “how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and getting people riding.”

Creating a more bike-friendly community has been among the priorities for city leaders in recent years. The city’s first bike-dedicated lane on a city street was opened last year on Spragins Street in downtown Huntsville last year.

Huntsville has plans to expand its bike lanes on city streets, including from downtown to the University of Alabama in Huntsville via Holmes Avenue. And Pace has bike rental racks throughout downtown Huntsville.

Huntsville also recently was ranked in a tie for 8th nationally by the National Complete Streets Coalition, which evaluated “complete street” policies adopted in 2018. Neptune Beach, Fla., was the only other southeastern city included in the top 10.

The coalition’s rankings “celebrates the work of these communities to make their streets safer, healthier, and more equitable.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle will be leading his annual Mayor’s Bike Ride on Saturday.

“Our transportation needs are changing, and the city is focused on meeting the needs of our growing community,” Battle said in a statement. “We’re improving major transportation corridors to move traffic, improving public transit, and we’re modifying some of our internal minor collectors to make it safer for cars, bikes and people.”

Huntsville officials cited Dr. Joseph Lowery Boulevard, which was completed last year, as a “complete street” with accommodations for cars, bikes and pedestrians.

The city will also be hosting a safety demonstration for bicyclists and pedestrians on Four Mile Post Road in Jones Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“Throughout The Big Picture master planning process, we heard the community say they wanted more transportation options, including greenways, bike lanes, and safer access for pedestrians,” Dennis Madsen, Long-Range Planner for the City of Huntsville, said in a statement. “Mayor Battle, City Council, and this administration have been working with the community to make it happen. We know we still have a lot of work to do to develop the ideal bike network, but recognition like this helps confirm we’re headed in the right direction.”