By: Christina Hughey
Whenever a trail is installed it affects the whole community. Impacting the lives of individuals in many ways, this includes giving individuals another option of commuting to and from work. Having a walkable neighborhood can even lower crime rates. Trails help the whole community and the people within the community.
One way the trail effects the community is by attracting bicyclists. Statistics show us that most bicyclists have a college degree and good income. In cities like Boulder Colorado and Corvallis Oregon there is a substantial number of bicyclists who visit just for the trails. Whenever these bicyclists visit trails they bring their money with them. Bicyclists will be spending money on things like lodging, restaurants, food and drink, and other things. This spending will help to support new jobs and local businesses.
Along with biking trails helping the economy, something else that helps the economy is walkability in neighborhoods. Most home owners and agents feel that trails increase a home’s value. Surveys even show us people would rather live in a walkable neighborhood and pay more rather than live in a regular suburban area where they have to drive everywhere. Millennials, who will be making up a portion of the home buyer in the next decade, are especially asking for walkable neighborhoods. Rehabbed houses and new construction are things to be expected when building trails and making neighborhoods walkable. We are seeing a building trend for more neighborhoods to include more trails, and to increase walkability within neighborhoods. It’s exciting to see how trails are changing our way of living for the better.
Another wonderful thing about trails is that they are completely environmentally friendly. Trails burn no fossil fuels, nor do they create pollution. Bonuses to both our world and our lungs. The trails that are offbeat from the town will help the environment in another way too. Trails often go across land that may be environmentally sensitive. By the trails keeping the users on the same paths, the trail can avoid areas that have more sensitive areas that wouldn’t survive the traffic.
Trails improve the health of people living within a community. Studies show us that residents who live in walkable neighborhoods have a lower BMI. Adults and children can use the trails for walking, running, equestrian and more. Using the trail improves everyone’s health.
Adults can benefit from:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Building muscle in the core as well as in the lower body
- Helping to control weight
- Reduced depression
Kids can benefit from:
- Better bone health
- Less chance of developing heart disease and high blood pressure
- Readier to learn in school
Trails help the community and the individuals who visit or live in them. Helping the economy along with health. A trail will change the community all around, for the better. We should be seeing an increase of walkable neighborhoods over the next few years. This will help the economy, the individuals in the community, and will also help the environment. Baby boomers want walkable neighborhoods, millennials want walkable neighborhoods, shouldn’t we create more walkable neighborhoods?