Conway Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board

Conway Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure Benefits Everyone

emEditor’s Note: This is an editorial printed in the Log Cabin Democrat on October 22, 2012 by Conway bicycling advocate and enthusiast, Michael Hinchcliff./em

I have lived and worked in many great places all over the country. So far, the best place I’ve ever lived and worked is Conway, Arkansas. I have turned down promising career opportunities elsewhere because the quality of life could not be matched. What makes Conway so great? Nice folks, clean streets, employment opportunities, and so much more. It’s hard to ask for more, yet I still see things getting better in our community. I am particularly pleased about the forward-looking pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure investments. I am a working professional with school-aged children. I regularly ride a bicycle to work. So yes, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure does matter. Dedicated pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure benefits everyone in our community, and not just the people who use it. Here’s why: First, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure encourages people to use alternative means of transportation. For every person who commutes to school or work by foot or bicycle, there’s one less car on the road. Fewer cars mean less traffic. Less traffic means other folks can get to school and work on time while consuming less gas. For the folks who question the value of bike lanes, look at the cost of hundreds, perhaps thousands of your neighbors idling in traffic hoping to make the next traffic light while time slips by and gas tanks run empty. Investing in these alternative means of transportation also positions us to be less dependent on foreign oil and reduce pollution. Second, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure promotes healthy and active lifestyles that reduce the cost of healthcare. Research has proven over and over again that just a little exercise a day can make a big difference in long-term health. It’s no secret that both the private and public healthcare systems depend on healthy contributors who consume less of the healthcare services to support the sick and unhealthy. The pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure helps the people of Conway minimize their healthcare expenses. And third, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure investments provide jobs. That’s American jobs that cannot be outsourced. These investments not only employ our neighbors but also support our local businesses. Conway’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is a

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positive contribution to complex problems and benefits users and non-users alike. With election season upon us, I

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hope the people of Conway will consider local candidates that will continue to support and improve these investments. These investments are a part of what makes Conway great and a place that generations will want to live and work in well into the future.

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