NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bike trail economics

Steve, a supporter of bike trails writes:
A big issue not being addressed is that of bikes, bike paths and multi-use trails are an economic positive to a community. Downieville has been helped by a recreational bike economy for many years now. The Lake Tahoe Rim Trail, the American River Trail, the Monterey Bay Trail system and many, many more across the country provide real positive economic impacts, mush less offer the chance for fun and exercise for our grossly obese country. Placer County DOT is doing a lot of work with bike lanes and multi-use paths. The short Truckee River Trail near Tahoe City spawned a number of new bike rental businesses, and there are many more examples.
This is not true in all cases. In 1996, I went to a rural economic development conference. One of the presentations was from Trinity County, who recounted the experience of an exlogging town who focused on attracting mountain bikers. They studies the issue ,and decide they need to rehabilitate the local cafe to meet the new demand. Upgrade the only motel in town with new bathrooms. Both upgrades required they expand the city sewer plant. The investments were made and the bikers invited to come ride the abandon logging trails surrounding the town. The bikers came, but economic development did not. They found the mountain bikers bring their own food, slept in their vans, and when home without showering.

My other concern about building trails for citizens to bike to work and the store, is the growing number of seniors. We are loosing our young people and the senior population is growing. How many seniors are going to use all these new bile trails. Are we like the small town in Trinity County, that assumes bike trails are good economics, but once built, failed to perform a according to the vision.

I wonder how well are our existing bike stores doing? If you have some insight, please let me know.

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