SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA (BRAIN)—Interbike and Bikes Belong announced that their two-year, $50,000 joint grant to the city of Las Vegas, host city for Interbike 2010, to improve cycling conditions for youth has helped add 3.2 miles (5.1 km) of additional bike lanes and bring a student bicycling program to the city's Ward 5 area.
These efforts complete phase one and phase two of the grant-funded project that Interbike and Bikes Belong outlined a year ago when they announced the two-year grant program, according to a press release.
"With the support of Interbike and local Las Vegas community leaders, the new bike lanes and bike incentive programs have taken a strong hold in Ward 5," said Bikes Belong president Tim Blumenthal. "With a few basic improvements, this Las Vegas neighborhood is already much more bike friendly and eager to develop its bike infrastructure."
The 3.2 miles of bike lanes installed in Ward 5 with the Interbike/Bikes Belong grant connect several main community facilities, including numerous elementary schools, parks, community centers and churches.
This year, the grant is supporting the installation of the Boltage system, an innovative program to encourage bicycling and walking in two Las Vegas schools. Students at Wendell Williams and Matt Kelly Elementary Schools, both serving low-income neighborhoods in Ward 5, will receive tags to attach to their helmets, bikes, or backpacks that will track their participation by "zapping" them as they pass the solar-powered reader. Students will receive participation incentives like stickers, wristbands, and granola bars and can also enter weekly raffles for additional prizes.
The next stage of the grant implementation will include hiring a program coordinator to encourage the community to bike more often and to manage the Boltage system.
"We have worked closely with Bikes Belong the past two years to put our grant to work in Las Vegas, and together we have achieved many goals," said Andy Tompkins, Interbike show director. "One of the components of the Bikes Belong/Interbike partnership is a commitment to improve cycling infrastructure in the show's host city. This grant has done that and we're happy the kids in Ward 5, and other cyclists in the area, have better places to ride."
This Interbike/Bikes Belong Las Vegas effort is one of many projects associated with a 10-year, multi-million dollar alliance between Interbike and Bikes Belong, initiated in 2007 to get more Americans nationwide riding bicycles.
(PHOTO: Students at Matt Kelly Elementary School in Las Vegas test new bikes lanes with city Councilman Ricki Barlow).