advocating for a safe transporation network for biking and walking
A recent posting on the website for Business Ethics magazine declares bike paths and bike lanes to be “all the rage” across the United States, and outlines the efforts of several cities, including New York City, Nashville, Portland (OR), and Davis (CA) to add bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure. You can view the post at: http://business-ethics.com/2010/10/11/1708-bike-lanes-and-paths-are...
Among the advantages of bike paths, the posting cites lower costs (to taxpayers and the environment) of constructing bike lanes versus new roads, improved real estate values for homes in proximity to bike paths, reduced traffic congestion and obesity, and greater economic opportunities locally due to the development and expansion of bike-related businesses.
In support of these assertions, a June 2011 study by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, entitled “Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts,” concludes that sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails “create many benefits for their users as well as the rest of the community.” Along with the benefits already mentioned—increased local businesses, reduced congestion, better air quality, safer travel routes, and improved health outcomes—the study adds “efficient jobs creation.” In summary, the study concludes:
“Overall ... bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending: For each $1 million, the cycling projects in this study create a total of 11.4 jobs within the state where the project is located. Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. Infrastructure that combines road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities creates slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million.”
You can read the study Abstract and download the complete study at: http://www.peri.umass.edu/236/hash/64a34bab6a183a2fc06fdc212875a3ad...
So, construction of bike paths, sidewalks, etc. not only provides health and environmental benefits, it creates more jobs than road construction! This is an important point to bear in mind as government budgets everywhere are being slashed, and funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects are under constant, repeated threat. Expenditures on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure aren’t a trifling luxury or a waste of precious resources better spent elsewhere—as some politicians might have us believe—but rather a positive, cost-effective investment in our communities, or economy, and our collective health.