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Liberty sponsors Clean Commute Challenge

April 25, 2013 : By Ted Allen/Liberty University News Service

Lee Beaumont (center), vice president of Auxiliary Services, represents Liberty in a bike ride from the Boonsboro area to Lynchburg City Hall Tuesday.

Liberty University is partnering with other local sponsors for the Clean Commute Challenge, a new web-based log designed to encourage residents to bike to work, or to carpool, take transit, or walk one or more days during the month of May.

A bike ride was held Tuesday night to promote the challenge. Participants rode from the Boonsboro area of Lynchburg to City Hall to present a proclamation to Mayor Michael Gillette deeming May as Lynchburg Area Bike Month and announcing the Clean Commute Challenge, which is part of the Live Healthy Lynchburg initiative.

The effort was led by RIDE Solutions and the Lynchburg Area Greenway Alliance.

Lee Beaumont, Liberty University’s vice president of Auxiliary Services, said he participated in the ride to take a proactive stance in pushing forward the city’s improvement of transportation options.

“It’s our desire to reach out to the community and be a good neighbor, to support community initiatives and to show that we’re being that responsible corporate citizen,” said Beaumont, who serves on the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company board and is Liberty’s liaison to Live Healthy Lynchburg.

Besides cycling, he said the Clean Community Challenge encourages other environmentally friendly means of transit, which the university supports and currently implements, such as carpooling, Zipcar, and off-campus commuter bus routes to apartment complexes and around town.

Lynchburg Mayor Michael Gillette reads a proclamation deeming May as Lynchburg Area Bike Month and announcing the Clean Commute Challenge.

Gillette addressed a gathering of about 30 cyclists and runners, as well as a handful of City Council members, on the steps of City Hall before the reading of the proclamation.

“It’s great to see so many people utilizing alternative transportation this evening,” he said. “In addition to living healthy and being healthy and the benefits that you receive personally, it’s also very important for every one of our communities across the United States to understand the role of alternative transportation, so that we have sustainable cities, so that we have safe cities for our cyclists and our pedestrians.”

The proclamation, stated, in part: “Whereas the city of Lynchburg is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all of its residents by creating safe, walkable, and bikeable access to community destinations; and whereas walking, biking, transit, and carpool are clean, economical, and energy-efficient transportation options available to persons living and working in Lynchburg ... I do hereby proclaim May, 2013, Bike and Clean Commute Challenge Month in the city of Lynchburg, and encourage residents, visitors, and employees to participate … by accessing work, school, or other destinations by walking, biking, taking transit, or carpooling at least once during the month of May.”

Beaumont said he would like to see the development of more bicycle-friendly roads and trails around Lynchburg to make commuting by bike a safer alternative.

“Part of this Clean Community Challenge is the biking community showing the need for wider shoulders, more bike lanes, more safety signs, education … because, really, it is scary to ride on Lynchburg roads as there are no lanes and drivers are not very friendly at times,” Beaumont said. “I know people who have been hit and a bike does not fare well against a car. There have been some ‘Share the Road’ signs posted, so they are making some headway.”