Archive for February, 2011

We’ve heard a lot of great stories from Arlingtonians who have dusted off their bikes and have realized the positive impact bicycling has had on their health. Here’s some info we found while researching the health benefits of bicycling, the impact bicycling can have on a community, and how it relates to Arlington’s Hike & Bike plan.

  • The plans will improve community members’ health by encouraging more walking and bicycling.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that improving places to promote more physical activity could result in a 25% increase in people who exercise at least 3 times a week.[1]
  • Childhood obesity is a problem in our country, and Arlington is no exception.  The Hike & Bike plan’s goal of getting involved with the national Safe Route to School program, which provides guidance on increasing walking and biking to and from school, would improve children’s health.
  • Numerous Cost-Benefit Studies show that walking and biking infrastructure improvements lead to improved health and reduced health care costs for people.  Here are just a few examples:

Lincoln, Nebraska. April 2005 journal, Health Promotion Practice[1], : Cost-Benefit ratios:  for every $1 invested in trails for physical activity,  people realized a $2.94 savings in their health care costs.

–Portland, Oregon.  a study in the January 2011 supplement of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found positive benefit to cost ratios for bicycle improvements:  for every $1 invested in a basic bike plan, the community would realize a $3.80 savings in health costs and fuel costs. [2]

–a Norway study found an even higher benefit to cost ratio from hike and bike infrastructure:  for every $1 invested, people realized a $4 to $5 savings in reduced health care costs.[3]

–a UK study found that the average benefit to cost ratio for walking and cycling infrastructure in the U.K. and in other European countries was 13 to 1, and in the U.K. alone, it was 19 to 1!  That is for every $1 invested in biking and walking improvements, people in Europe saved $13 in health care costs, and people in the U.K. saved $19 in health care costs.[4]

[1] U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Guide to Community Preventive Services” (2002), cited in Hike and Bike Plan, Chapter 1, page 1-5.

[2] Wang, Guijing, et al.  “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Physical Activity Using Bike/Pedestrian Trails,” Health Promotion Practice, April 2005, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 174-179.  “Costs and Benefits of Bicycling Investments in Portland Oregon,” by Thomas Gotschi, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Volume 8, Supp. 1, (January 2011), pp. S49-S58: 

[3] Saelensminde, Kjartan.  “Cost-Benefit Analyses of Walking and Cycling Track Networks Taking Into Account Insecurity, Health Effects, and External Costs of Motorized Traffic,” Transportation Research Part A, Vol. 38, (2004) pp. 593-606.

Please join us in welcoming Health & Harmony Coffee House & Cafe as a new BFA supporter!

Health & Harmony Coffee House & Cafe is a new arrival to downtown Arlington, with a full espresso bar, great food, and various classes from yoga to wood carving.  Plus, they have graciously agreed to provide a 10% discount (on food and beverages) for all customers who arrive to their shop by bicycle!

Ride on by and check them out today!

Health & Harmony Coffee House & Cafe
208 South Mesquite
Arlington, TX 76010

Check out our BFA Supporters Map!

More walking and bicycling infrastructure will STRENGTHEN our LOCAL ECONOMY. And that’s not just a good thing. It’s a GREAT thing!

Business Activity

Studies show that walking and bicycling infrastructure promote economic development and business activity. Here are just a few examples:

  • Outer Banks, North Carolina:  2004 Study of the Outer Banks in North Carolina commissioned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation[1] found that the $6.7 million in public funds spent to add wide paved shoulders to roads in the region and to construct off-road paths generated an estimated $60 million annuallyIn other words, for every $1 dollar invested in bike infrastructure, that community generated almost $9 in economic value to the community.
  • Ian Lockwood’s 1998 study (planner for West Palm Beach), “Traffic Calming for Crime Reduction & Neighborhood Revitalization,”[2] found that after traffic calming improvements (including street narrowings, raised intersections, and pedestrian amenities) were made in downtown West Palm Beach,

+  business property values MORE THAN DOUBLED (from 1993 to 1998), from between $10-$40/square foot to between $50-100/square foot,
+  occupancy rate INCREASED from 30% to 80%
+  a public investment of $10 million led to private investment of $350 million in the area
+  motor vehicle traffic volumes were maintained at the same level.
+  restaurants were busy and more were opening.

  • Emily Drennan’s study (2003) (San Francisco St. U.) “Economic Effects of Traffic Calming on Urban Small Business,”[3] surveyed small business owners/merchants on the effect of bicycle lanes on Valencia Street in the Mission District in San Francisco, and 65% said that bike lanes had a generally positive impact on business and/or sales, and they would support more traffic calming on the street.

Property Values Increase

Numerous studies cited in the Hike and Bike plan (Chapter 1, p. 1-7) show that bikeways and walking paths are associated with HIGHER PROPERTY VALUES. These studies include:

+American Planning Association (“How Cities Use Parks for Economic Development” 2002)

+Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (“Economic Benefits of Trails and Greenways” 2005)

+Trust for Public Land (“Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space,” 1999)    (Chap. 1, p. 1-7).

+A study in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration found that in comparing identical houses in an area, homes closer to bike trails had 11 percent higher value than those further from bike trails. [4]

+In a survey published in 2002 by the National Association of Home Realtors and National Association of Home Builders, trails ranked as the 2nd most important amenity out of 18 choices.

Savings to Residents Keeps Money in the Local Economy


Yearly Bicycle Operating Costs: $120/year  
Yearly Car Operating Costs: $7,800/year[5]


HIGH GAS PRICES make bicycling an even better option to reduce household expenses!

This frees up household income that can be spent in small businesses in Arlington!

The COST of the PLANS, especially the on-street bicycling portion, is AFFORDABLE:

  • The Hike and Bike plan identifies some Top Priority projects, in Appendix C of the plan, estimated to cost around $16 million.
  • But note that the on-street bikeway portion of that cost is ONLY about 1.7% of the cost of all the hike and bike projects (around $278,669, spread out over 3 years, or, $92,890 per year).
  • The priority ON-STREET BIKING PROJECTS annual cost represent only around 0.5% of the FY 2011 Streets Budget ($18,959,844)[6]
  • $12.173 million of the $16 million is for off-road greenway/linear park projects not on city streets. These are the projects that opponents say they support[7] (and we thank them for their support!) and these projects are the bulk of the expense.  They can be funded by linear park fees.
  • Sidewalks account for the remaining cost:  $3.551 million.
  • No road maintenance funds will be used for these projects.


Top Priority projects were chosen based on their LOW COST and effectiveness:

  • connecting existing facilities, serving the underserved, improving safety where needed, and pursuing lowest cost facilities first.[8]
  • areas closest to schools, greenways, and places people need to go are high on list.Filling in gaps in the existing sidewalk network
  • routes where existing right of way is adequate and work involves painting stripes or restriping or road diet, not new construction.


  • BIKE IMPROVEMENTS ARE NOT BEING BUILT FROM SCRATCH.  THERE IS NO “RETROFITTING” OF EXISTING ROADS. Bicycle-related improvements would be scheduled as part of already scheduled roadway maintenance and restriping projects. [9]

[1] North Carolina Department of Transportation, Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, “Pathways to Prosperity:  The Economic Impact of Investments in Bicycle Facilities, A Case Study of the North Carolina Northern Outer Banks, and July 2004.

[4] (Lindsey et al., “Property Values, Recreation Values, and Urban Greenways,” Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, vol. 22(3), pp. 69-90), Fall 2004.

[5] Hike and Bike Plan, Chapter 1, page 1-5.

[7] S.O.S. Arlington Update #19, Posted December 8, 2010.

[8] Hike and Bike Plan, Executive Summary, page 9.

[9] Hike and Bike Plan, Chap 1, p.1-3;  p. 7-3.  See Appendix B and C for Top Priority Projects.

Turn it up to 11

Image courtesy Transportation Alternatives

So, yes, to sum up last night:

Success for the Hike & Bike Plan! and the Thoroughfare Development Plan!

It could not have happened without all of your support.

But now it’s time to really roll up our sleeves and change to a higher gear. We need to focus on the Arlington Hike and Bike PUBLIC HEARING with City Council on March 1st. It’s a whole new board of people who also need to hear our voice.

So let’s spend the month turning it up to 11 and really letting the leadership know that bikes belong in Arlington. Everyone’s done a great job so far. Let’s keep it going!

Due to the weather, the City of Arlington has postponed today’s scheduled P&Z public hearing until tomorrow, Thursday, February 3rd, at 3:30pm.

We know the earlier time may make it difficult for some to attend the meeting, but please do your best to make it out – arrive late if you need to. We need you there!

If you find you can’t make the meeting (and even if you can) please be sure you have sent in your written comments:

Send a brief email expressing your support of the Hike Bike plan and the Thoroughfare Development plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission AND the City Council, at the following email addresses (you can copy and paste these into the “To:” field in your email):;;;;;;;;;

Your email can be as short and simple as you like.  If you need inspiration, check out our sample letter.

Have fun and stay safe in the ice and snow today, folks!

Hope to see you at the hearing tomorrow!

  • Wear yellow!
  • Meet at the UTA Engineering Research Building at 4:45 for a short group ride to the hearing, or show up at City Hall at 5:30, or as soon as you can make it.
  • Sign 2 green cards of support (one for the road plan and one for the hike and bike plan) and turn them into the box at the front of the council chambers.
  • Speak in support if you can, thank the commission and staff for all their hard work, and stay positive!
  • If you haven’t had a chance to sign the petition or write city council, please take advantage of this cold day to do so!

See you there!




    Bike Denton