Why Does It Matter?
Walking and bike paths create better connections to work, are cost effective, improve health, and are fun.
Walking and bike paths not only provide gateways to recreational opportunities, they offer critical access points to other modes of transit like bus routes. This increases the overall activity level of residents, provides health benefits, and diversifies methods of transportation to work, school, and other locations. Walking and biking is also more cost effective than alternative forms of transportation such as owning a car or even taking public transit on a regular basis. Owning or driving a car is not an option for many in our community; owning a vehicle can be a financial burden for low-income households; many individuals with disabilities lack the mobility to independently drive a car; and many other populations like the elderly are unable to safely operate a vehicle. Almost 10,000 people who are working do not own their own car. Both walking and biking are also environmentally friendly transit options because they emit no pollution. Communities often use walk or bike scores for their city or neighborhood to understand how easily they can get around without a car. You can learn more about your city's or zipcode's walk score here.
According to Heartland 2050, when people can safely walk to a movie, restaurant, business, and back home, they are also more likely to use buses and bicycles, too. Walking and bike routes create more welcoming neighborhoods, and have the potential to attract not only economic development, but new residents. Along these same lines, communities that offer a diverse number of transit options also have an advantage in attracting and retaining talent—especially younger generations who are driving less, and who often place more value on a wide range of transportation options. Heartland 2050 has recently launched the "Closing the Gap" initiative, to promote a more walkable, livable region. This plans include ideas on infill development that closes the gaps between neighborhoods and public transit to connect neighborhoods for a more vibrant community.