Sitka received a Bronze award, which is the lowest of the four Bicycle Friendly Community designations - Bronze (57 communities), Silver (19), Gold (6) and Platinum (2). Sitka has the fourth smallest population of any community honored, and is at the same level as Denver, Louisville, Sacramento, Milwaukee, New York City and Washington, D.C. According to the League of American Bicyclists, a Bicycle Friendly Community designation is good for four years, but communities have to file annual updates.
"Very cool, I think this is great news," Sitka Mayor Marko Dapcevich said when informed of Sitka's honor. "Kudos to all those who helped on this project. It's really exciting to see Sitka designated a Bicycle Friendly Community. This was a good project for health and awareness, and I was happy to get behind this one."
Sitka residents discussed applying for a Bicycle Friendly Community designation before the April 2007 Sitka Health Summit, and the idea gained momentum when it was chosen as a top health goal/priority for Sitka during the Sitka Health Summit's community planning meeting. The 2008 Sitka Health Summit takes place May 14-16 and is brought to you by SEARHC, Sitka Community Hospital and the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program.
"It's been wonderful to see how so many groups and individuals have come together to help our community reach this worthwhile goal," SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne said.
"Receiving the Bicycle Friendly Community award is what SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska is all about; institutionalizing physical activity," said Grace Brooks, Grant Manager for the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program. "Sitka has actively made biking safe and fun, making the healthy choice the easy choice."