18 good reasons

…and then some, for the City of Adrian to begin exploring the implementation of bicycling infrastructure.

According to EcoVelo, the League of American Bicyclists has just published a new report on “The Economic Benefits of Bicycling Infrastructure Investments.” (Please raise your hand if you think our area could use of some economic benefits.) Here are some highlights:

  • The bicycling industry contributes an $133 billion a year to the U.S. economy.
  • The bicycling industry supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $17.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.
  • $46.9 billion is spent annually during bike trips and tours.
  • North Carolina’s Outer Banks spent $6.7 million on bicycle infrastructure and they’ve seen an annual nine-to-one return on that one-time investment.
  • In 2000, Quebec’s La Route Verte generated $95.4 million, corresponding to approximately 2,000 jobs and $15.1 million in tax revenue.
  • As a result of policies to encourage bicycling and maintain urban density, Portland residents travel 2.9 billion fewer miles and spend 100 million fewer hours, saving $2.6 billion a year.
  • A 2009 Portland study found that a disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards and concluded that the data support the need for well-connected neighborhood streets and a network of bicycle-specific infrastructure to encourage more bicycling among adults.
  • A 2006 Minneapolis study shows that 83 percent of the time cyclists will choose a longer route if it includes a bike lane, and respondents were willing to add 20 minutes onto their trip in order to use a bicycle trail instead of riding on roads with facilities next to parked cars.
  • An NHTSA study found that Urban households without a car, bicycle to work nearly three-and-a-half times more often than households with one car.
  • In urban areas bike lanes can accommodate 7 to 12 times as many people per meter of lane per hour than car lanes.
  • For the cost of repaving 3 miles of rough pavement on Interstate 710, CalTrans could sign and stripe 1,250 miles of California roads for bike lanes.
  • Along San Francisco’s Valencia Street, two-thirds of merchants surveyed four-and-a-half years after bike lanes were painted said that the lanes had a positive overall impact on their business.
  • A 2009 study of Bloor Street in Toronto found that people who biked and walked to the area spent more money than those who drove there.
  • A study of home values near the Monon Trail in Indianapolis, Ind. showed that homes within a half mile of the Trail gained an 11% increase in value.
  • Researcher Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute estimates that replacing a car trip with a bike trip saves individuals and society $2.73 per mile.
  • A 30 percent mode-share in the U.S. would lead to an estimated savings of $163.8 billion a month (nearly two trillion dollars a year).
  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute, gridlock costs the average peak period traveler almost 40 hours a year in travel delay, and costs the United States more than $78 billion each year.
  • The results of a study of 33 large U.S. cities showed that each additional mile of bicycle lane is associated with an approximate one-percent increase in the share of bike-to-work trips.

And for some good news close to home, Lansing City Council just passed a Complete Streets and Non-Motorized Plan Ordinanceunanimously. Congratulations Lansing! And cheers to the Walk and Bike Lansing task force, and to all the cyclists, pedestrians, and concerned citizens in that area who have worked so hard to make this happen.

It can be done. And, it seems to me, that a city the size of Adrian would, in many ways, face fewer obstacles than do larger communities. Of course, I know things are never that simple. For starters, those who don’t ride bicycles rarely see (immediately) how they and the community at large benefit. But there’s the rub. Every single one of the bullet points above highlights a benefit to the community that provides the infrastructure.

So, where and how do we begin? My initial thoughts on that question are as follows:

  1. Educate others by disseminating the information above, and materials like it, as widely as possible.
  2. Demonstrate that we want this by (a) riding our bikes more places more often and documenting miles, trails use, etc., (b) voicing our wishes and concerns, and (c) supporting bike-friendly businesses and areas. There is safety and strength in numbers, and businesses respond to the demands of their clientele.
  3. Act within our immediate spheres of influence, e.g., by getting the places where we work and go to school to provide bike racks (do you know how inexpensive these are compared to the cost of a single parking space?).

Anyone else interested? What are your ideas?

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One response to “18 good reasons

  1. I personally think it sounds great. It may seem cliche to alot of people, but having a decent sized cycling infrastructure in every size of city would help out quite a bit with the environment as well as get more people active and healthier and heck who knows maybe even friendlier.

    Also it might create more jobs with more bike shops and/or bike manufacturing factories and such coming into some places to keep up. Maybe even bring prices down on ‘real’ bikes a bit.