Submitted by Thomas Stowe CMS 8th grader
Hello. My name is Thomas Stowe and I am in 8th grade at Central Middle School. At CMS there is an end of the year project for 8th graders called the Capstone Project. This is a multi-month project where we find an issue in our community, research it, decipher a solution, and then take action. I chose to advocate for a bike path.
As a kid, I love the feel of the air blowing in my face as I pedal down the street, with no care in the world. But in Greenwich I don’t get that carefree feeling. Biking in Greenwich is stressful for bikers and drivers.
If you ever bike or drive down any busy street in Greenwich, you will feel the frustration of getting stuck behind a bike that you can’t pass, or having a car right behind you. With the COVID-19 pandemic this has increased, due to the 121 percent increase in bike sales. In the past year, bike related accidents have increased 11 percent (Greenwich Free Press). Additionally, a bike path can have many other benefits. Not only will it decrease the amount of bike related accidents, but biking decreases the risk for many serious diseases.
Furthermore, a bike path has many upsides for non-bikers. It will make the streets safer since drivers don’t have to avoid bikers. It will create safer sidewalks by having a bike lane in between walkers and speeding cars. It will decrease congestion. For instance, Arlington, Virginia saw a 15 to 20 percent decrease in traffic after constructing bike lanes (AARP). In addition to that, a bike path has economic vitality.
For example, in the 8-mile area surrounding the Indianapolis cultural trail, property values increased by a total of 1 billion dollars (AARP). Biking also saves money by decreasing health costs since people are in better shape. One study showed that if you biked for 30 minutes a day, it reduces your risk for diabetes, depression, colon cancer, dementia, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and anxiety by at least 40 percent.
Also, it saves money for taxpayers by creating another source of transportation and keeping the roads in better condition. Lastly, a bike path has numerous environmental benefits. If people who live within four miles of their office were to bike to work each day, they would generate 2,000 less pounds of carbon annually, per person.
In conclusion, a bike path is a must for Greenwich and a worthwhile investment in our town’s future.
Greenwichfreepress. “GROUP LETTER: Please Fund Bike Study in FY 2022 Town Budget.” Greenwich Free Press, 5 Feb. 2021, greenwichfreepress.com/letter-to-the-editor/group-letter-please-fund-bike-study-in-fy-2022-town-budget-153984/.
Walljasper, Jay. “How Bicycling Infrastructure Benefits Non-Bicyclists.” AARP, www.aarp.org/livable-communities/getting-around/info-2016/why-bicycling-infrastructure-is-good-for-people-who-dont-ride-bikes.html#:~:text=They’re%20great%20for%20drivers,the%20sidewalk%20and%20speeding%20vehicles.%22&text=Bike%20lanes%20also%20reduce%20the,vehicles%20while%20crossing%20the%20street.%22.
If you agree with me, please visit my website www.greenwichbikepath.com and sign the petition to show the town that this is an idea with community support. That way, a feasibility study could be approved and we could start the wheels spinning on a bike path.