In the ongoing conversation about why Americans need more biking
and walking options in their transportation infrastructure, often the "it feels
good," "it's better for the environment," or "it's better for your health"
arguments unfortunately don't carry a lot of weight.
But you start talking economics, and wealth, and industry,
and people tend to listen, particularly those elected officials and business
leaders who are often difficult to engage on more "esoteric" concepts.
One of the most persuasive arguments in support of more
appropriate investment in walking and biking infrastructure has been its direct
connection to real estate values. The American Association of Homebuilders
has long recorded that access to a nearby trail is one of the amenities most desired
by new homebuyers, and all across America neighborhoods
and cities are booming or tanking based on how well they accommodate people
who don't want to rely on a car to get around.
A brand new web service called Bike Score is now set to increase the
pressure on planners to be more conscious of bike connectivity. Brought to you
by the same people who launched Walk Score
in 2007, Bike Score ranks a city, or neighborhood within a city, based on the
availability of bike lanes, hilliness, the number of bikeable destinations and
the level of commuting.
According to this article at www.fastcoexist.com, Bike Score cofounder
John Herst says the new service is aimed at home-seekers who want to be less car-dependent.
He hopes a greater focus on the connection between convenient bike pathways and
real estate desirability will encourage more competition between planners to build
bike friendly communities. So do we.
(Minneapolis is Number 1, by the way. How does your city fare?)
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