More infrastructure = more cycling = better health

Minneapolis greenway 1
People walking and cycling on the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis

No great surprises here, but research in the United States has found a link between improved cycle infrastructure and positive health outcomes.

The research specifically concentrated on the development of the Minneapolis Greenway and the effect on travelling patterns in the areas near the Greenway.

The Midtown Greenway is a 5.5-mile [8.8 km] long former railroad corridor in south Minneapolis with bicycling and walking trails.

It sounds very similar to the Glenn Innes – Tamaki cycleway, work on which is due to start shortly. In fact, there is a proposal in Minneapolis to build a street car (tram) line along the Greenway to cash in on the fantastic synergy between public transport and cycling. Luckily, the GI-Tamaki cycle way already has the Eastern heavy train line to feed into, a train line that can carry the same number of people per hour as a 10 lane motorway.

The Greenway has already contributed to a big increase in people nearby travelling more by bicycle:

Results show greater increases in commuting by bicycle among residents living near the Greenway. For example, the percentage of workers commuting by bike increased by 89%, from 1.8% (95% CI: 1.2, 2.4) in 2000 to 3.4% (2.9, 4.0) among those living three miles of the Greenway, while those living six miles from the greenway increased by 33%, from 1.2% (0.1, 2.4) to 1.8% (0.7, 2.9).

800px-Midtown_Greenway-Minneapolis-2007The medical researchers attributed the positive outcomes to the investment in infrastructure which helped a new demographic of people to get out on their bikes. We can expect no less from the GI-Tamaki cycleway – it will make cycling a much more attractive option for local residents, making them wealthier and healthier.

One thing that is needed are better local connections so people can easily get from their houses on to the cycleway and on to a train station, to the city or the local shops. CAA is already working on that and any feedback you have would be appreciated.


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