Impacts of Improving Bicycling Conditions
The justification for federal, state, and local support of bikeways initiatives, and for proactively seeking to increase the mode share of bicycles within our Transportation system is based on widely accepted Transportation planning concepts, and even more broadly, on the fundamental principles of planning itself – namely, the health, safety, and welfare of our communities and the individuals who live in them. The effort to increase bicycling as Transportation and as recreation in northeastern Illinois is important for reasons of mobility, health, safety, the environment, and the character of our communities. In the context of our Transportation system, developing bicycle facilities and programs is important for reducing congestion and improving the overall operation of the system.
There is growing interest, among both residents and officials in northeastern Illinois, in walking and bicycling as both a means of Transportation and a recreational activity. As noted above, walking and bicycling are healthy, efficient, low cost, and available to nearly everyone. They help communities achieve the larger goals of developing and maintaining "livable communities;" making neighborhoods safer and friendlier; reducing Transportation-related environmental impacts, mobile emissions, and noise; and preserving land for open space, agriculture, and wildlife habitat. They also provide Transportation system flexibility by giving people alternatives in congested conditions and by providing improved multimodal access, particularly in combination with transit systems. There is also growing interest in encouraging walking and bicycling as a means for improving public health. Increasingly, public health organizations are looking to urban, regional, and state Transportation planners to create more walkable and bikeable communities in order to encourage healthier lifestyles across the United States. (California Department of Transportation)