A City’s Bike & Pedestrian Paths May Predict It’s Future

The above artwork was shared by Herman on his blog earlier this week. It promotes biking in the great city of London.

Also earlier this week I read this headline in Memphis’ Commercial Appeal, “Bicycle lanes not part of the plan for Memphis.”

I am really disappointed in the City Officials who chose to not make adequate plans to make this a priority. These short sited efforts continue to keep Memphis behind in recruiting and retaining the future leaders of society.

Let me explain…I will use Herman as an example. Herman lives in NYC. He is young, talented, and looking for an opportunity to make his mark on the world. He has received some of the highest levels of training and has experienced some of the most excellent work in his field just by being in proximity of great work in NYC.

Herman, with his talent, experience, and potential growth in his skill set, could be a great asset to the City of Memphis. To the communication field, to the art culture, to the next generation of emerging leaders in Memphis.

Here is the problem that would likely lead Herman not to choose Memphis…Herman bikes. He loves to bike and when he doesn’t bike he likes to walk. These are not just means of travel for Herman, they are his favorite ways to travel. In fact, they are his most enjoyed modes of travel. So if Herman ever decides to leave NYC, he is going to look for a community that supports this passion and Memphis clearly does not.

Herman is a specific example of hundreds of thousands of potential emerging leaders that will likely pass by Memphis because we don’t offer this huge piece of their life.

Remember, I am not talking about recreational biking out at Shelby Farms or riding Tour de France style on a Sunday morning…I am talking about biking as a way of life.

(Tangent, Memphis is ranked number one in least amount of people exercising and number one in bad health. Bike Lanes may help these two areas too!)

Herman has never lived in Memphis, so Memphis is likely a long shot for snagging Herman even if we had a solid biking community. But what about all the thousands of people who leave Memphis every year and go live in a biking and walking community, live that way for a couple of years and then make their decision on where to plant long term. Their hometown of Memphis is now also having to overcome this new hurdle in their life on top of everything else.

Herman and BIG City Dwellers are not the only people that want this. A recent survey shared at a conference I attended in Chicago in April said that 46% of current suburbanites wished they lived in walkable communities. Where walking and/or biking was the norm, not the exception!

Memphis is not only missing out on people who already live this way, but is also not attracting people who want to live this way.

I am not saying bike lanes will solve all of Memphis’ problems, but I do believe that it is part of the recipe for long term success.

What do you think about bike lanes?

What is a big issue your City is dropping the ball on?

2 Comments

Filed under City Leadership, Culture, Get Involved, Leadership, Memphis

2 responses to “A City’s Bike & Pedestrian Paths May Predict It’s Future

  1. Aaron Shafer

    Substitute bike with skateboard and you get the same cause/effect. I’ve been saying that exact thing for the past three years.

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