Net Positive Return

Of the many afflictions facing urban school communities, particularly New York City, transportation looms large over all of them. For Christmas I received a copy of Elly Blue’s Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economywhich overlaps with a lot of issues I see facing my students and families. Ms. Blue combines a passionate narrative with a lot of the statistics and research needed to support the obvious economics benefits of bikes on neighborhoods. She writes:

Just as roads and cars necessarily operate at a net negative, losing money for their entire lifespans, bicycling and bicycle infrastructure produces a net positive return. This goes beyond simple accounting. Many of the opportunities lost while sitting in a car are gained on a bike. Fitness, health, and pleasure are personal examples. On a societal level, we stand to gain no less than the prosperity of a community whose residents are not burdened by debt, the integrity and stability of our common resources, and our ability to participate in a thriving civil society.

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