Comment 99104

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2014 at 08:31:37

If you think Bikes don't contribute to the economy, just take a few hours to peruse this:

Here's the bottom line:

A car costs between $8,000 and $10,000 a year to own and operate in Ontario (per the CAA). Of those costs, only about 15% stay in the local economy. The rest leave. So a family with 2 vehicles spends between $16 and $20,000 per year on their cars, of which about $13-16,000 leaves the local economy.

Now let's say that building better cycling infrastructure allows that family to become a one car family - they still use the car for big shopping trips, for family vacations and the one parent has a longer commute, but the other parent is able to bike to work most days, and on days when the weather isn't great, they can get a ride or even call a cab. That frees up an additional 8-10,000 in that family's budget, and research shows that people that walk or bike more also visit their local shops more often and spend more money locally. So let's say, on the conservative side, that 60% of their $8-10,000 that they're saving on not having a second car gets spent locally. That goes from keeping about $1500 in the local economy to keeping $6,000 in the local economy. And since money kept in the local economy tends to circulate and generate more local wealth to a ratio of about 3-to-1 when compared with money that leaves the local economy, that has a multiplier effect, adding another $12,000 to the local economy, bringing the total contribution from that one family and their associated local spending to $18,000 versus a contribution of $4500 previously ($1500 in local economy, 3-to-1 multiplier). Not to mention the fact that people that cycle have lower rates of absenteeism, are more productive at work AND have lower health care costs. Couple ALL OF THAT with study after study that shows that homes within 500m of a piece of cycling infrastructure like what is being built on Cannon have property values up to 35% higher than identical properties in an auto-dependent neighbourhood, and you have something that is an absolute economic slam dunk.

Nothing about remaining auto-oriented makes economic sense. Nothing at all. We're using one tool for every job without even considering that another method might actually be better for us, for our environment, for our economy and for our society. I said when I presented to council that this would be the best investment of taxpayer dollars that they made all term, and I have nothing but confidence that my statement will be proven right. Yes, building new types of infrastructure costs money. But maintaining the old style of infrastructure we have, and, more importantly, continuing to pay for the unwanted consequences of that old design, will cost us MUCH MUCH MORE in the long run. It's not a matter of not being able to afford these changes - it's a matter of not being able to afford NOT to change.

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