For those of you that read our previous blog entry: Up & Coming Downtown Means Better Urban Cycling In Brockton, you can probably tell we are pretty gung ho about the future of Downtown Brockton and Brockton in general. As Brockton rises and we here at Velo Urbano wish to see it become a cycling mecca, we got to thinking on what Brockton needs to do to achieve this status. After some thought, we came up with a number of needed bicycle infrastructure investments, but there is one in particular we would like to talk about today - protected bike lanes. For the folks not familiar with protected bike lanes their concept is simple, they are a bike only lane with a width of 5' or greater utilizing a barrier of some sort to keep motorized vehicles out of the lane to eliminate conflict between bicycles and cars. An example of a protected bike can be viewed in the picture above. The picture above shows the Prospect Park protected bike lane in Brooklyn NY which utilizes parked cars as the physical barrier keeping cyclist safe from moving vehicles.
With protected bike lanes on key routes throughout Brockton, the most timid of cyclist will be encouraged to ride due to the feeling of safety these specialized bike lanes provide. According to researched reviewed by City Lab, an online publication that speaks on city related issues, they found in their research review that cities which installed protected bike lanes saw ridership gains of 21 to 171% along the corridor in which the new protected bike lanes were installed, and 10% of those riders were new riders.
Protected bike lanes, bike lanes in general, and other bicycle related infrastructure have been shown to be of economic benefit to the business in proximity to these investments. According to research conducted by the national bicycle advocacy group People For Bikes, it found in Portland Oregon that cyclist spent 24% more per month on average than those that traveled by car with similar findings in Toronto Canada and New Zealand. The reason for the higher per month average spending by those that traveled by bicycle rather than car is due to the fact that people that traveled by bike made more frequent visits than those that visited a local business by automobile during the same month.
Protect bike lanes are also great for real estate investments too. It was found in the publication Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business: How 21st Century Transportation Networks Help New Urban Economies Boom, that for every quarter mile a home was near a bicycle trail in Minneapolis and St. Paul MN, its value increased by $510. Similar findings were also discovered in the state of Indiana. Homes that were located near Indiana's Monon Bike Trail sell for 11% more than homes further away from this trail. Available data also shows that community members value the investment a city makes in protected bike lanes. For example, 83% of residents located near Washing D.C.'s 15th Street protected bike lanes said the protected bike lanes was a valuable benefit to their neighborhood.
Having protected bike lanes can also attract companies to setup shop in Brockton. As venture capital and knowledge base businesses increasingly seek to move into urban areas, they are ever increasingly looking at cities that have invested in things like cycling related infrastructure. According to interviews conducted by People For Bikes in their research for Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business: How 21st Century Transportation Networks Help New Urban Economies Boom, the companies interviewed stated protected bike lanes and bicycle related transportation investments were a big factor in choosing where to locate their organizations. These companies explained investment in bicycle related facilities were also key to attracting a highly skilled workforce as this workforce is increasing deciding were to live and work base on the availability of these type of facilities. As more workers demand these type of bicycle related assets be present in a city before they move there, it is key Brockton invest in this type of bicycle transportation facilities to ensure it has the right stuff to attract this type of highly skilled workforce and the companies that employ them.
If Brockton were to invest in bicycle related transportation infrastructure like protected bike lanes, it could see the ridership gains along with the benefits to real estate and the business sector as was presented in the data findings mention here today. Velo Urbano believe in Brockton and its abilities to do the things we spoke about in this blog entry, because it makes sense to do them and we see the city being open to investments in bicycle related infrastructure. With a little gumption we believe Brockton can develop into this cyclist mecca we here at Velo Urbano would like to see it become. We encourage all reading this blog entry to reach out to their city councilors and ask them to have Brockton invest in bicycle related facilities like bike lanes and protected bike lanes. These investments will only make the city better, its people richer, and a great place to call home.
Anderson, Michael & Hall, Mary Lauran. Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business: How 21st Century Transportation Networks Help New Urban Economies Boom. Retrieved from https://www.deldot.gov/information/community_programs_and_services/bike/pdf/2014/Protected_Bike_Lanes.pdf
Clifton, Kelly J , Morrissey, Sara, & Ritter, Chloe. Business Cycles: Catering To The BIcycle Market, TR New 280. Retrieved from http://kellyjclifton.com/Research/EconImpactsofBicycling/TRN_280_CliftonMorrissey&Ritter_pp26-32.pdf