ECONOMIC IMPACT OF BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE
Across the United States, the necessity for stronger support of small businesses has always been crucial. Success of small businesses allows entrepreneurs with ranges of funding to provide work and income, for themselves and their families. While this is able to be easily demonstrated in areas with larger populations, we believe the positive effect of having more bike racks will allow Fredericksburg to be more accessible to cyclists. This will encourage and enable a healthier, more environmentally friendly, and cost efficient mode of transportation to increase business sales in downtown Fredericksburg.
The Rappahannock Heritage River Trail is a 3 mile loop that attracts different activities including biking. This trail makes downtown Fredericksburg accessible to cyclists and walkers, alike, there presents a need for cyclists to store their bikes while they shop in and experience downtown. In general, bike lanes slow down traffic enabling more people to see the store fronts of local businesses because they will be going more slowly if there was a bike lane throughout downtown. According to a study done in Asheville, NC, cyclists spend on average 40% more at local businesses compared to drivers simply because business traffic is increased. Cyclists are able to conveniently park their bike anywhere, whereas vehicles have to drive around and look for a spot. According to the League of American Bicyclists study, Iowa generated an estimated $400 million in additional funds from cycling in 2011, with $87 million saved in health costs. On a large scale, it is easy to see these benefits, as there is a significant amount of data. In Fredericksburg, though, this might be harder to see. However, it has been shown that increases in revenue for businesses, combined with savings in health costs for cyclists, leads to an ideal situation for a locality such as Fredericksburg.
The argument for bike racks in downtown Fredericksburg is an important addition that would enhance the outdoor experience for visitors and residents. This would, in turn, attract people to spend more time and support more businesses while they are enjoying downtown. If bicyclists had a place to store their bike while they do these things, it would be beneficial for the local economy and the health of cyclists, as they would be enabled to spend more time doing an activity they enjoy.