Bike Lanes: The New Job Creators?

Govern + Invest is a theme that will be explored at Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 2012: Pro Place. A question that will be examined is how bicycling and walking investments can add value to a community by creating economic activity, creating jobs, and improving quality of life.

Already we know that when it comes to jobs created per million dollars, bicycle facilities are one of the most efficient transportation investments. But once the paint dries and the asphalt cools, are there lasting economic effects? Can bicycle infrastructure build bicycle culture that will build a bicycle economy?

The answer seems to be yes — at least in the case of Long Beach, California. More than 20 new bicycle-related or bicycle-inspired businesses have opened at last count. I toured some of these business with Charlie Gandy and Melissa Balmer during a recent trip to Long Beach to meet these entrepreneurs, and prospect for locally-sourced goods and services for our conference. Twenty new businesses is a lot, especially in this economy, so you may be skeptical of these numbers (I was); but after meeting some impressive young people, I can assure you that it’s all real