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Rust Belt Revival by Bike

The Rust Belt’s revival appears to be pedal-powered.  

We know that bicycling is a cost-effective solution for many community problems. And many cities across the Rust Belt region — like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, South Bend, Morgantown — have shown they’re committed to making biking better in their communities. 

In our latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community awards, Buffalo, New York, was awarded a Bronze. Buffalo has a booming bike culture, a growing bikeshare system and nearly half of all of its schools have a Safe Routes to School program.

Justin Booth, Executive Director of GObike Buffalo, told me that Buffalo’s decline in the late 20th century — which was felt by many of the Rust Belt cities — has not stopped the New York city from growing stronger, with bicycling propelling this progress.

Buffalo is an exceptional city located along the convergence of two great lakes with a rich history,” Booth said. “Despite the significant decline faced in the latter part of the 20th century, our city can boast a radial street grid design by Joseph Ellicott and a parks and parkway system by Fredrick Law Olmsted, coupled with our historic architecture, Buffalo has been considered as one of the best designed cities in the country. This legacy has supported a rich bicycle culture and today, through GObike Buffalo‘s collaboration with the business community and city, we are poised to become a great bicycling city especially with connections along the Niagara River Greenway to Niagara Falls and across the border to the Greater Bi-national Niagara Region.”

Interested in applying to the League’s BFC program? Take our quick assessment to see where your community stands. Give feedback on your community’s bike-friendliness by answering five short questions in our Community Survey.

(Photo courtesy of GOBike Buffalo).