Anniston on path to become "Bike City" - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Anniston on path to becoming "Bike City"

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Anniston is on the way to becoming "Bike City." (abc3340.com) Anniston is on the way to becoming "Bike City." (abc3340.com)
ANNISTON - AL -

Bicycling always ranks in the top five most popular outdoor activities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surveys show almost half of Americans want more biking facilities in their communities.

The City of Anniston gets it.

The Coldwater Mountain trail is one of the best biking trails in the south.

City leaders say why stop there! Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart says,
he wants his city to be the bicycling capital of Alabama.

"It's not city hall driven. It's community driven. A lot of these projects started in the community," says Stewart. "We really feel like, due to our eco-resources, that it's a strength that we have. And we would be negligent if we didn't build upon it."

Stewart claims Anniston is home to nearly 1,000 recreational bikers. His hope is to re-brand his city. With a focus on healthy living and recreation.

"We want to get folks moving, get them outdoors, if it's walking, if it's biking, let's get moving," says Stewart.

Healthy living isn't the only benefit. The city also sees an economic boost from cycling.

"As we develop Coldwater Mountain bike trail, we're developing downtown. Because they both play on one another. With an entertainment district, restaurant row, mom and pop shops, to compliment the bike trail," Stewart explains.
 
Mike Poe, president of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association loves getting on his bike and enjoying scenic trails.

However, for Anniston to become 'Bike City', Poe says safety improvements for riders are necessary.

Right now, there are few bike lanes for cyclists, and the city's street grid isn't connected to any of the biking trails.

The wheels are currently in motion in Anniston to make the changes needed.

"The city is doing some things, with complete streets with bike lanes and share the road signs, they are really helping in that effort," says Poe.

City leaders recently met to go over the city's efforts to support cyclists.
As a result of that meeting, Stewart said, he expects bike lanes to be painted onto Alabama Highway 202 approaching Coldwater Mountain within a year.

A proposal will take place at the next city council meeting on Tuesday night.

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