Want a Happier Healthier City? Bikes are a Bargain

Not only are car-oriented environments ugly, they're costly from an environmental, health, and public investment standpoint. Elly Blue finds that for comparative pennies, bike-friendly cities get happier, healthier, and less broke residents.

"For a few thousand gallons of paint and a bit of signage and concrete, you can get yourself a bike-friendly city – and tens of thousands of smiling riders to go with it," writes Blue, Portland resident and cycling advocate. "It's been famously said (and fact-checked) that Portland's entire bicycle system, the one that makes us the most bike-friendly city in this country, the one that makes us one of the healthiest cities in the country and that has cushioned a few of the blows of the recent recession, has cost about $60m over the years. That's the same cost as – wait for it – one single mile of urban freeway."

For that meager investment, Portland bought itself "one of the highest rates of bike commuting in the country," she adds. "Some things these people are not doing when they bike include wearing down the roads, creating massive amounts of tailpipe emissions, competing for parking space, clogging up freeway traffic, and accidentally killing people."

Full Story: For the price of a mile of highway, you too can have a bike-friendly city

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