In debate about $800 million KCMO infrastructure bond, evidence shows sidewalks and bike lanes bring the biggest return on investment of public money.
The numbers are compelling
46% more jobs created by sidewalk, bike lane, and trail projects than roads-only projects. 1
These projects are more labor-intensive than the big materials-intensive street and bridge projects. They create more jobs per dollar spent, and put more public money into local paychecks and the local economy.
Good for small business – bike/ped projects are often smaller, simpler jobs that are good for local small businesses and minority/women-owned firms.
Good for the local workforce – The city recently piloted an innovative new partnership with the Full Employment Council on a Northland sidewalk project at Maplewood Elementary School. FEC partnered with a local small business to train workers to build sidewalks, which equips individuals with new skills while expanding the workforce of skilled labor for future sidewalk construction.
Some other ROI stats
300% boost in employment and visitors with increased foot traffic 2
200% return on investment in sidewalk construction due to improved health and air quality 2
33% drop in pedestrian injuries due to investing in Safe Routes to School 2
20% increase in retail sales after addition of protected bike lanes 3
Shifting the financial burden
The infrastructure bond is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put a big dent in the city’s $1 billion sidewalk backlog, and for the first time stop the city from falling further behind on sidewalk maintenance. A $300 million mobility fund, designated within the infrastructure bond, would be key to this transformation. It would also take the burden of maintaining these public facilities off of individual homeowners.
Big business represented by the Heavy Constructors Association are pushing for a “new roads and bridges” approach to the infrastructure program. While this would certainly help by including new sidewalks on the main arterial streets, it would not help the individual homeowners on local neighborhood streets. That is why a dedicated mobility fund is critical for improving sidewalks in the areas where they are most needed and in the worst condition.
Let your voice be heard
We have created an online petition so that you may speak up for biking and walking in the infrastructure bond. This petition will automatically be provided to the Mayor, City Manager, and your City Councilmembers. Click here to learn more.
1. Community Commons: Bike/Ped projects create 46% more jobs than road-only projects
2. Designed to Move: Active Cities report
3. Streetsblog: How to measure the economic impact of livable streets