UC Santa Barbara’s crisscrossing bike paths have earned the campus a Bicycle Friendly Business Gold Award from the League of American Bicyclists.

The distinction re-cognizes UCSB as one of the top bicycling campuses in the country, with seven miles of bike paths, over 10,000 parking spaces in the bike racks and sustainable transportation initiatives from groups such as Transportaion Alternatives Program and A.S. BIKES. According to UCSB’s Transportation Alternatives Program, nearly half the student population and nine percent of staff and faculty bike to campus every day.

Ron Cortez, associate vice chancellor for Administrative Services said the award is a testament to the commitment of students and staff to use sustainable transportation methods.

“The League of Amer-ican Bicyclists naming UC Santa Barbara a Bicycle Friendly Business Gold Award winner is symbolic of the student leadership on our campus in regards to sustainability,” Cortez said. “The fact that 49 percent of our students commute by bicycle is incredible and is a constant reminder of their concern for our environment.”

UCSB’s transportation methods have been honored several times in the past, earning a Best Workplaces for Commuters recognition in 2002 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the UC system won a top 10 spot in the 2009 list of “Cool Schools” by the Sierra Club.

James Wagner, program manager for Transportation Alternatives Program at UCSB, said the bicycle paths were first built in the ’70s and have since expanded extensively. The Transportation Alternatives Program, which began with an effort to encourage van pools, has grown over time to include carpooling and biking services.

“I’m thrilled that we have been recognized for being a leader in bicycling,” Wagner said. “It’s good to be recognized, and UCSB is one of the leaders in terms of sustainability and commuting in general.”

Connor McDonnell, a third-year psychology major and cashier at the A.S. Bike Shop, said he is excited about the award and the role that the A.S. Bike Shop has played in maintaining accessibility for bikers.

“We’re trying to be student and commuter friendly,” McDonnell said. “We’re just doing our job and we look forward to helping anyone who comes in with our expert advice.”