On July 9, the League of American Bicyclists released the list of 2020 Bicycle Friendly Businesses: 647 at the bronze level, 457 at silver, 241 at gold, and 71 at platinum. We were happy to learn that our Portland and Washington, DC offices each received gold designation for their efforts to encourage welcoming atmospheres for bicycling employees, clients, and the community, joining our Boise office at the gold level.
“Because of our line of work, we’re constantly confronted with research and statistics that demonstrate the economic, environmental, and health benefits associated with bicycling as a means of transportation. We strive to ”˜practice what we preach’ by applying this knowledge in our personal commute and travel choices,” says Nick Gross, transportation planner in our Portland office.
The Bicycle Friendly Business award recognizes an organization’s long-term contributions to the movement to make our country more bike-friendly for everyone. The Spring 2020 round of awards includes government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, bike shops, and others across industries, all united in a commitment to support the health and well-being of employees and clients/customers.
“We chose our office location because it’s bike-friendly, and because it’s down the street from our friends at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), who we work with to design spaces for people of all ages to bike in the District,” says Alek Pochowski, a senior engineer/planner in our Washington, DC office.
He added, “Transportation is one of those unique professions where we witness and often experience the results of our work firsthand. For example, not only did we lead the process to update the Capital Bikeshare Development Plan, we also personally use the bikeshare system all the time. We take this responsibility seriously and we continue to work to make the District more bicycle friendly across all neighborhoods.”
How We Get to Work
We’re excited for this recognition but most of all, proud of the intentionality behind every Kittelson staff member’s commute choice. 76% of commuters in the United States drive alone to work, but less than half our staff choose to commute that way. Data from our last firmwide commute survey (in 2018) indicated that 19% of our staff bike to work, 26% take public transit or carpool, and 7% walk.
In our DC and Portland offices, those percentages are weighted even more heavily toward active transportation and public transit. 25% of our Portland staff walk or bike and 43% take public transit to work. Our DC office is split 50/50 between walking/biking and public transit.
Biannual Bike Challenge
Twice a year, Kittelson staff engage in a friendly competition to encourage one another to trade in automobile trips for bike rides. Kittelson’s Spring Bike Challenge aligns with Bike Month every year, and we hold an additional competition from mid-October to mid-November. During these bike challenges, we encourage all staff who are interested to take part and log their bicycle trips, whether it’s 5 miles for the month or 500.
Commuting in 2020
Much of this is different in 2020 due to COVID-19. We altered our Spring Bike Challenge to focus more on wellness and self-care, and the majority of us temporarily stopped commuting to the office in order to practice social distancing. However, we’re still committed to choosing safe, healthy, and sustainable ways to travel, and under many circumstances, biking remains one of the healthiest and safest ways to get around right now.
Being Bike Friendly Together
Whether certified or not, we know there are many dedicated organizations out there working to build a more Bicycle Friendly America. If you have tips or ideas from your experience, or suggestions for us on how we can be more bike-friendly, please reach out!