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Infrastructurist and Seattle Bike Blog: Good News for Cyclists

By Erica C. Barnett January 19, 2011

Two unrelated stories on bikes in the past few days offer promising news for cyclists (and those who support expanding cycling infrastructure):

First, the blog Infrastructurist reports on a study done in Baltimore that showed every million dollars spent on bike lanes produces twice as many jobs as road repair projects---14.4 new jobs per million dollars, compared to 6.8 per million for road resurfacing and 7.4 per million for road upgrades and repairs. Pedestrian projects like sidewalks and separated bike boulevards created 11.3 and 11.7 jobs per million dollars spent, respectively.

How to account for the discrepancy? According to study author Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Infrastructurist writes, "compared to road repair work, bike and pedestrian construction projects are more 'labor-intensive,' meaning a greater share of the money goes toward human labor rather than toward materials. All infrastructure projects will create jobs, but when it comes to bang for your construction buck, cities might want to take a long look at bikes."

Closer to home, the Seattle Bike Blog has a piece detailing a bill that was just introduced in the state house by freshman Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32) that would allow cities---not mandate, allow---to set speed limits as low as 20 mph in residential and business districts. As a pedestrian, your odds of being killed by a car going 20 mph are only around 5 percent, compared to around 85 percent at 40 mph. Current law makes it difficult for cities to create 20 mph speed zones, and typically requires a traffic and engineering study to set limits that low outside a school zone.
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