Thursday, April 5, 2018

Pedestrian/bike trails = Economic development

What is the value of building infrastructure for people to get out of their cars? In small towns, it can mean the difference between having only a thriving gas station to having a thriving community.

In cars, people tend to speed by smaller towns and rural areas, and spend money along the way only on gas and quick snacks. Trails support longer stays and more diverse spending, advocates say. “The reason there could be a great restaurant somewhere is because of a trail,” says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, the executive director of the East Coast Greenway. The popular Elroy-Sparta trailthrough Wisconsin, for instance, brings $535 million from tourism annually, and the near-constant stream of bikers, horseback riders, and hikers supports a network of local hotels, restaurants, and shops. 

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