Creating a safe and secure biking infrastructure in White Flint is essential to our mission in promoting a sustainable and walkable community. One of the best ways to ensure residents will feel safe enough to bike is to design and implement protected bike lanes, which are an important part of the White Flint Sector Plan. Indeed, we know these bike lanes will help cyclists but how will these bike lanes help those who do not travel by bicycle? Or will it even benefit them at all? These are often the questions community developers and practitioners ask when redeveloping cities and urban areas. Amelia Taylor-Hochberg in her recent Archinect article discussed a report was completed by PeopleForBikes and Alliance for Biking & Walking, that researched cities with protected bike lanes. The report found that cites have started to see positive benefits for local economies and businesses because of these designated bike lanes.
As cities and urban areas become more dense with buildings, including residential and retail space, as well as people, they need to figure out a way to transport people that will use less space. Many of the cities found that “cycling infrastructure is the most efficient way to get more people around in less space.” Bicycling can also help to reduce traffic. If a city has designated bike lanes, we know more people are willing to use bikes as their means for travel, causing less cars to be on the roads. So how can bicycling help local businesses? Well those who bike to complete errands or daily activities, are more likely to stop at businesses or retailers more often (a reason for creating mixed-used properties that provide various goods and services in one area). This trend ultimately creates more spending, boosting the local economy. And an added bonus, local businesses will need less available parking spaces.
If bike lanes can help local businesses thrive, then those who do not necessarily bike will see positive change for their community or even themselves (if they are business owners). In White Flint, we hope that the designated bike lanes soon to be implemented will help our local businesses thrive too.