It took 93 miles of bike trails, but Virginia Beach has finally pedaled its way to national recognition.
The city has added that many miles to its system of bikeways and trails since 2011 by repainting streets during road projects and adding off-road trails to its list, said Wayne Wilcox, the city’s senior planner for bikeways and trails. It now has 97 on-road miles and 137 off-road miles.
That was enough for it to win a bronze award from the League of American Bicyclists in the city’s first try under Wilcox. He has drawn the city’s bikeway plans since 2009.
Cities that make the rankings are dubbed Bicycle Friendly Communities and are said to “welcome bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation,” according to the league’s website.
Virginia Beach crafted a trails plan in 2011 that called for the city to apply for the award in 2015 and make the rankings by 2017.
“We gave it that lag time, because back then I expected we’d have a long way to go,” Wilcox said.
Virginia Beach was on a list of 54 communities that were named this week as new or renewing bicycle friendly locations, according to a press release from the city. There are 371 communities nationwide that have received the designation, the release said.
Eight Virginia communities have received a bronze award, including Norfolk, Portsmouth, Williamsburg, Richmond and Roanoke. Three in the commonwealth have received a silver award: Alexandria, Arlington and Charlottesville. None has received the gold.
The Beach received an honorable mention in 2006.