Magnolia Street: Where New Bike Lanes Make a Difference

Magnolia Street in Fort Worth, Texas, is one real-world example where creating new bike lanes and providing a bicycle-friendly neighborhood can help the local economy.

| May 2014

Bikenomics (Microcosm Publishing, 2013) by Elly Blue provides a surprising new perspective on the way we get around and how we spend our money. Blue provides a look at the real transportation costs of families and individuals, then moves to examine the current civic costs of our transportation system. This excerpt from chapter 9, “Bike Lanes on the Main Street,” explores the effect that new bike lanes can have on their surrounding communities.

Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Bikenomics.

Magnolia Street, in the newly hip Near Southside section of Fort Worth, Texas, is the sort of story that urban planners dream of.

In 2008, this retail, office, and apartment-lined street was re-striped. The street had been two lanes in each direction, both of which had been mainly used by cars, plus a few fast and fearless cyclists. In its new incarnation it still had four lanes, one in each direction for cars, and one for bicycles. It was the first ‘road diet’ of its kind in Fort Worth, and has been a genuine success,” Kevin Buchanan, a local musician and author of the Fort Worthology blog, told me.

The best measure of this success was in the bottom line: After the road was rearranged, restaurant revenues along the street went up a combined total of 179%.

“Not to imply causality,” Buchanan added, “but clearly removing car lanes and replacing them with new bike lanes had no ill effects on businesses, and of course it can be argued that the safer, slower street and better cycling/walking environment helped business.”

5/27/2014 11:33:32 AM

Although I have nothing against the author of this book, I am extremely disappointed that Mother Earth News would endorse Microcosm and Joe Biel. There is an international boycott on that company for a reason. Based on how many other comments have been left expressing this same opinion, I would recommend avoiding Microcosm like the plague in the future. I see no reason to support a company that has abused so many people.

5/27/2014 2:01:23 AM

Really disappointed to see Mother Earth News running an excerpt from Microcosm Publishing. Although I love the content of the piece (especially as a native Texan from Fort Worth, and a cyclist!) Microcosm is toxic: owner Joe Biel has been ousted from many activist communities because of his abuses, and his previous employees left en-masse because of it. I think one of the previous comments calling Microcosm the "Monsanto of the small press world" about sums it up. It's unfortunate that the publishers behind good content like this are so abusive and divisive.

5/26/2014 3:05:46 PM

I was interested in this read until I saw that it was the work of Microcosm Publishing. They are bad news. Do your research Mother Earth. If you support them, I can not in good conscience support you.

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