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Batavia named bicycle-friendly community

BATAVIA – Batavia is being recognized as a bicycle-friendly community.

The Washington, D.C.-based League of American Bicyclists on Tuesday designated Batavia as a bronze-level in the designation. Batavia is one of eight communities in Illinois that have the designation, including Chicago, Elmhurst, Evanston, Naperville, Schaumburg, Champaign and Urbana.

“It seems that they are right on the cusp of being a really great place for bicyclists,” said Bill Nesper, vice president of programs for the League of American Bicyclists.

The Batavia Bicycle Commission had applied to be designated. Since its inception in 2009, the Batavia Bicycle Commission has worked to promote bicycling in the city and make the city a safer place to ride.

The commission was formed to implement the City of Batavia Bicycle Plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2007.

In awarding Batavia with the designation, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the commission’s educational efforts in the Batavia School District.

The group also took note of North River Street in downtown Batavia, which last year was transformed into a curbless street in which pedestrians have priority over cars.

“It makes that span more comfortable and safe for pedestrians and cyclists,” Nesper said.

This was the first time the Batavia Bicycle Commission had applied to be designated as a bicycle-friendly community.

“We are excited to get the bronze-level award,” commission member Amy Moore said. She added that the honor is even more special because not many communities have received the designation.

Batavia Bicycle Commission Chairman John Gamble said the group plans to continue looking at ways to improve, including the installation of four crossings on Route 31 and three crossings on Route 25.

Gamble said the group received a federal grant that would pay for 80 percent of the project’s costs.

“To me, that’s one of the key things we need to get done in the future,” Gamble said.

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