Bike to Work: Making Communities More Vibrant, Livable, And Workable
May is National Bike Month, a celebration of biking as transportation, recreation, and a healthy part of our everyday lives. According to the League of American Bicyclists, 40 percent of all trips we take in the U.S. are less than 2 miles long, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get around.
The number of U.S. bike commuters is on the rise, especially in communities where leaders have made strides to offer citizens safe, bikeable routes. According to the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), Americans made more than 42.5 billion trips by walking or biking in 2017. NHTS respondents living in urban areas were more likely to use non-motorized travel to work.
Many American communities have successfully increased bicycle commuting by investing in new and improved bike paths linking popular commuter routes. Another important aspect of these projects is making alternative transportation a safer option than driving.
“Across the country, people are advocating to make their communities safer for people biking and walking,” says biking advocate Anna Tang.
Here in the DC Metro area, EBA Engineering (EBA) has been involved in a number of bike and shared use path construction and improvement projects for municipalities that are working to offer their residents commuting alternatives.
For example, the 2.5-mile Frederick Road Bike Path will provide the first shared use path connecting Clarksburg and north Germantown. The route offers a safe, convenient means for users to bike or walk between two schools, two parks, and a church.
The Frederick Road Bike Path project is also part of Montgomery County’s “Vision Zero” goals to reduce deaths and serious injuries on county roadways to zero by 2030.
In the District, the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) is part of an ongoing effort to create a system of interconnected trails that will enable non-motorized travel around the Washington, DC, region. Currently extending 2.8 miles from the Brookland-CUA Metro Station to Union Station, this premier bicycling and walking facility—or “rail trail”—links the neighborhoods of NoMa, Eckington, Edgewood, Brookland, and beyond.
To improve trail user safety and usability, EBA recently worked with the District Department of Transportation to complete a lighting system upgrade along the MBT between Florida Avenue and Franklin Street. Now, the public can appreciate brighter, consistent, and reliable lighting along the trail.
Enhancing trail safety ultimately means more trail users, which will continue to have long-term social and economic benefits, including more patrons for local businesses; more people engaging in healthy, enjoyable outdoor activities; and more commuters traveling in environmentally sustainable ways, causing less pollution and roadway congestion.
Overall, bike and shared use trails are a cost-effective solution to many community challenges, such as safer streets, connected communities, a cleaner environment, and healthier citizens. These infrastructure investments are a great opportunity to make communities more vibrant, livable, and workable. Whether you are celebrating National Bike Month or just looking for a little exercise and relaxation, we hope to see you on the trails!
Prakas Karattukudy, PE, PMP, is a senior transportation project manager for EBA Engineering, Inc. He can be reached at 410.504.6107, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on LinkedIn.