January 21, 2016 12:05 am
Updated: January 21, 2016 12:07 am

Program recognizes Halifax organizations supporting cyclists

A new initiative is pointing out that it doesn't need to cost a lot to make life easier for cyclists in Halifax. As Steve Silva reports, businesses and other organizations providing things like bike racks and water stations are being recognized for their efforts.

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A Halifax bicycle shop is the first organization officially determined in part by the Halifax Regional Municipality to be friendly to those on two wheels.

“We’re looking to recognize and celebrate the supports that organizations are already providing for cyclists,” said Mark Nener, a community planner at the Cities & Environment Unit at Dalhousie University.

The group is one of several, including Halifax’s SmartTrip, that launched the Bike-Friendly Certification program in December 2015.

Cyclesmith, which is located close to Agricola and Willow Streets, was certified on Wednesday. A sticker with the logo of the program, which constitutes a smiley face with a bicycle wheels for eyes, is now on one of the store’s front doors.

Applicants must meet two main requirements, which are judged using a points-based system for three levels of certification.

There needs to be a minimum number of parking spaces for bicycles, which is determined by factors including the floor area of the organization.

The Bike-Friendly Certification program launched in December 2015.

Steve Silva / Global News

A bike-friendly policy is also necessary: “That could be anything from providing cyclists access to a washroom in a café without requiring a purchase,” said Nener.

A discount of some sort for cyclists could work, too, he added.

Offices, residential buildings, schools – any organization can apply. Of the six that have applied, only one has gotten certified so far.

The program is currently free to apply for online.

“We want cyclists to see that brand and understand immediately that if they visit that business, if they visit that office, they are going to find a minimum level of cycling supports,” he said.

For the current fiscal year, there is a budget to subsidize funding the purchases of new bike racks.

“If there’s an organization that applies to the program but they don’t meet the minimum requirement for bike parking, we can help them achieve that requirement,” said Nener.

“We’re looking to recognize and celebrate the supports that organizations are already providing for cyclists,” said Mark Nener.

Steve Silva / Global News

 

Efficiency Nova Scotia in Dartmouth applied for the program.

“Obtaining this certification sort of shows our staff that we are committed and reiterates our commitment to the policies that we already have in place,” Mark Robertson, a regulatory specialist for the organization.

According to a spokesperson, more than 40 per cent of Efficiency Nova Scotia’s employees commute to work by carpool, public transit, bicycle or on foot.

Robertson said the organization is looking at making use of the aforementioned subsidies to replace a bike rack in the building to get certified.

The Halifax Cycling Coalition has a similar version of the program called Bikes Means Business; the competition is being welcomed.

“Any idea that comes about that shows that the city is thinking more about people who rides bikes is a step in the right direction and we’re generally pleased with it,” Eric Jonsson, a board member of the group.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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