Encouraging people to bike and walk smart business move

Walking, biking, skateboarding, skipping, scooting — however you get from point A to point B with your own body — are old concepts, but constitute a new trend in communities, including the Grand Valley.  Commuting in other ways besides your car is not only fun, but also offers tremendous health and economic benefits.

Let’s dive into why promoting active transportation is a big deal — and why you should care:

Your business will grow if the environment is conducive to bikers and walkers. In other words, bike lanes and sidewalks will pay for themselves. In Leadville, for example, local tax revenue increased 19 percent after the opening of the Mineral Trail. The reason is simple: If more people can safely access your business by all types of transportation, the number of customers will increase.

Chelsea Wells
Chelsea Wells

Younger generations are more likely to walk or bike to work. Active transportation is a culture change, and millennials embrace this culture. Denver businesses are having trouble attracting a younger crowd to work because they want to bike to work, according to Tami Door, president of the Downtown Denver Partnership. If there are no bike lanes, they don’t feel comfortable cycling. Door said that 10 years ago, she never would have thought walkability or bike lanes would be an economic tool, but now Denver and other communities recognize their importance.

Active transportation fosters good health for all ages. Did you know that 30 minutes of cycling each day could result in a reduction of $544 per person per year in health care costs? That’s right. Since businesses face rising health care costs for their employees, it’s essential business owners and managers promote health in the workplace.

Grand Valley businesses and organizations are making progress in creating a more active community, but we need your help. Change doesn’t happen without the support of residents.

Join the conversation by attending the second annual Walking and Biking Summit scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 13 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. in Grand Junction.

The agenda includes a keynote speech from Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City and president of the National League of Cities; panel discussions; networking; and lunch,

Local leaders will discuss the economic and health benefits on four different panels: Making the Case for Walkable and Bikeable Communities, Exercise is Medicine, There’s More than One Way to Get to School and Taking it to the Streets. Moderators and panelists will include representatives from the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, Colorado Mesa University, Regional Transportation Planning Office, Downtown Grand Junction, Mesa County Health Department, Horizon Drive District, St. Mary’s Hospital, City of Durango and Colorado Department of Transportation.

For more information or to register for the summit, visit the Web site located at www.healthymesacounty.org/wb-summit. See you on March 13 at Two Rivers.