Chatham News

Chatham U. among Bike Pittsburgh’s inaugural class of bike-friendly employers

By: Bike Pittsburgh
February 9, 2011

PITTSBURGH (February 9, 2011) … Bike Pittsburgh recognized Chatham University and other Pittsburgh employers with its first annual Bike Friendly Employer awards at the organization’s annual meeting on February 9. Chatham was recognized for being the first Pittsburgh employer to enact the Commuter Tax Benefit that reimburses employees up to $20 a month for bike related expenses and for opening a student-run bike collective as part of the Office of Sustainability.

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Other winners include East End Food Coop, Google, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, OTB Bicycle Cafe, Mullen, REI, Springboard Design, The Sprout Fund, Urban Design Associates, and Whole Foods Market with.

With the support of the Sprout Fund and The William Benter Foundation Bike Pittsburgh established the Bike Friendly Employer (BFE) program to help local employers put all the necessary components of being “bike friendly” in place.

“A bike-friendly workplace not only serves in attracting talented employees, it also represents a key element in an organization’s sustainability practices, says Lou Fineberg, Program Manager, “In a city still steeped in it’s smoky heritage by the outside world, bicycling represents a fundamental and highly visible shift of our city’s culture and livability.”

According to Fineberg the two essentials that all BFE’s have in common is a culture that promotes biking to work, and bike parking that is secure, conveniently located, and exceeds demand. Amenities like storage and changing facilities, how bicycling is incentivized, participation in events, and how well employers inform and connect their bicycling employees also plays a role.

Phyllis Barber, Highmark Sustainability Coordinator worked closely with Bike Pittsburgh in developing a Bicycle Action Plan. “The Bike Friendly Employer program” she said, “has provided an opportunity for us to share with our employees instructions on safe bike commuting and maintenance, as well as the environmental and health benefits of riding a bike to work. We appreciate Bike Pittsburgh’s leadership in the community.”