Greg Ballard, who was mayor when Indianapolis won
the 2012 Smart Growth America award, said the Cultural Trail has had a huge economic impact on Indiana’s
“Within a half mile of the trail there’s an increase in
assessed value of over a billion dollars,” Ballard said.
“That’s massive. There’s no question that there’s additional economic development along trails. People want
to live next to the trails. We had a Fortune 200 company here in Indianapolis open up a headquarters. They
wanted to be on the trail.”
In “Safer Streets, Stronger Economies," a 2015 report
based on policies implemented in 37 cities, Smart Growth
America concluded that Complete Streets policies created
safer streets; increased foot, bicycle and transit traffic;
and stimulated economic growth.
“Our analysis found that safer conditions created by
Compete Streets projects avoided a total of $18.1 million in collision and injury costs in one year alone,” the
Complete Streets policies created
safer streets; increased foot,
bicycle and transit traffic; and
stimulated economic growth.
It went on to report that the economic impact of many
of those policies had not yet been studied, but 11 places
reported increased employment and eight said their Complete Streets policies “were at least partly responsible for
increased investment from the private sector.”
One of the projects involved in the study was the Complete Streets renovations of Edgewater Drive, the main
street in the College Park neighborhood north of downtown Orlando, Fla. The street was reduced from four
lanes to three, bike lanes were added and on-street parking spaces were widened. The report indicated auto traffic
decreased by 12 percent, but bicycle traffic increased by
30 percent and pedestrian usage was up by 23 percent.
Before it received Complete Streets upgrades, the Seattle street
pictured above was not pedestrian friendly.
The Complete Streets upgrades to the Seattle street included
sidewalks and curb cuts for pedestrian safety.
Photos courtesy of Seattle Department of Transportation