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The Federal Investment in Bicycling: 10 Success Stories - AARP Everywhere Skip to content

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The Federal Investment in Bicycling: 10 Success Stories


In 2005, the main trail of the Midtown Greenway opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This 5.5 mile bicycle pathway is now traveled by more than 3,500 cyclists daily and often enables them to travel across town faster than drivers. Investing in bicycle infrastructure has proven to be an efficient way to improve the overall quality of life for residents, support local economies, and incorporate active living in communities across the U.S. Bikes Belong produced this report to highlight 10 success stories of cities that have invested heavily in bicycle infrastructure, examine the benefits these cities have felt from improved bicycle infrastructure, and discuss the funding sources these communities utilized to establish their successful bicycle networks.

Key Points

Providing safe and convenient bicycle infrastructure encourages residents to utilize active transport over automobile travel, leading to improved health and quality of life for all residents. In addition to providing health benefits to residents, improved bicycle infrastructure often leads to economic benefits for individuals and the community as a whole. The cities studied in this report are of different sizes and locations across the country, yet they have felt similar benefits from their investments in bicycle infrastructure and networks.

Other report highlights include:

  • Wonders Way Path – this 2.7 mile, 12-foot-wide bicycle pathway in Charleston, SC was established as a result of a grassroots campaign effort to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian traffic along the Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge. Sixty-seven percent of Wonders Way users stated that they exercise more since the opening of the path.
  • Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Trail – this bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly pathway stretching across Philadelphia serves as a transportation and recreation route for residents. Nearly 22,000 trips are made on this trail per week. Fifty-eight percent of trail users say the primary reason they use the trail is for health and exercise purposes.
  • Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade – this bicycle pathway is a crucial link in Portland’s non-motorized transportation and recreation network; it connects several vibrant neighborhoods and busy bridges. After the Eastbank Esplanade opened, bicycle use on the nearby Steel Bridge increased 220 percent.

How to Use

Funding is a critical part of community planning that can make or break an innovative bicycle-friendly transportation project. When advocating for enhanced bicycle infrastructure, it is important to incorporate and engage a broad range of stakeholders and citizens. Community planners, neighborhood designers, and local leaders can use this report to gain an understanding of the funding strategies other communities have used to improve their bicycle infrastructure and increase the number of cyclists on their streets.

View Full Report: The Federal Investment in Bicycling: 10 Success Stories (PDF – 5.3MB)

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