State College earns Top 10 ranking for cycle-friendly cities

Whitney Lloyd
June 08, 2015

The rankings come from Walk Score, a company that gathers data about a location’s walkability, bikeability, and access to public transit and allows people to compare places they are considering living.

Walk Score rated 154 U.S. cities with their Bike Score service, which  measures whether a location is good for biking on a scale from 0 - 100 based on four equally weighted components: bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and bike commuting mode share. State College earned a bike score of 77.4 – i.e. “Very Bikeable,” with biking being “convenient for most trips.”

The rankings are likely the result of both Penn State University and the Borough of State College’s commitments to improving the community for cyclists.

In 2008, Penn State’s Transportation Services launched a Bicycle Master Plan that included widening streets, expanding bike access on campus, building covered bike parking and offering bicycle registration online. These changes led to the University being recognized as a bronze level Bicycle Friendly University in 2012 by the League of American Bicyclists.

“University Park is pretty nice,” said Ernie Lehman, former president of the Penn State Bicycle Club.  “It’s the perfect size for bikers. It’s too small to have a car and too big to walk everywhere. A bicycle is the perfect medium.”

The University has continued its efforts to improve since then, adding four free bike repair stations throughout campus and continuing the construction of new bike lanes on main roads.

Alissa Thompson, a senior majoring in kinesiology, said University Park is more “aware of bikes” compared to where she grew up. She added that she feels safer and more comfortable riding locally, and that goes a long way for students like her.

The free bike repair stations contain all the necessary tools to perform basic bicycle repairs. The tool set contains Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a complete set of Allen wrenches, headset wrench, pedal wrench, box wrenches, tire levers and a tire pump. All of the tools are connected to a central post by stainless steel cables and tamper proof fasteners. Bicycles can be suspended from the post so that the pedals and wheel can spin freely while making adjustments.

The State College-Centre Region also received bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community recognition from the League of American Bicyclists in 2012, as well as an honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists, Bicycle Friendly Business program.

In November 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) awarded the Centre Region $1.8 million out of $33 million total throughout the state. Of that $1.8 million, more than $900,000 was awarded to College Township. The main component of the College Township grant provided a shortcut connection from the Puddintown Road bike path to the bike lanes on Orchard Road with the goal of keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe by keeping them away from areas where they may be more likely to encounter motorists. PennDOT also awarded an additional $5,000 to the Borough of State College for the creation of bicycle repair stations along shared-use paths.

Penn State is currently on track to achieve an even higher level certification in 2016.

For more information on biking on campus and other alternative transportation, visit the Transportation Services website. For more information about biking and bike paths in Centre County, please contact College and Ferguson townships, respectively.

To learn more about sustainability efforts at Penn State, visit sustainability.psu.edu.

  • Winter Bike to Work-2 13 15-Group

    Penn State bike commuters gathered on the Old Main steps during Winter Bike to Work Day on the morning of Feb. 13 of this year. Many members of the Penn State community braved frigid temperatures to participate in the event.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
Last Updated June 11, 2015