Bikes Win Big at the Polls
By: Kyler Blodgett, state and local policy analyst
This past election, voters approved nearly $3.6 billion dollars across the country for new and improved bicycling infrastructure.
On November 8, voters across the country approved nearly $3.6 billion dollars in local funding for new bicycle infrastructure, all of which were opportunities that PeopleForBikes tracked and raised awareness for through our VoteForBikes campaign. This money will go towards better on-street biking and walking infrastructure, new trail systems, park construction, and other active transportation improvements. The November election marks the culmination of our 2022 campaign, which saw a total of 42 successful pro-bike ballot measures, representing $4.2 billion in new local bicycle infrastructure funds this year alone.
A few notable measures from across the country:
- Voters in Cook County, Illinois, increased funding by $380 million for county forest preserves, which boast 150 miles of paved trails and 200 miles of unpaved trails for riding.
- In Teton County, Wyoming, voters extended a penny sales tax to approve 15 local projects, including two that will net $18 million for bikes over the next six years by creating safe routes to school, as well as fund bike/ped safety signage and other features in the town of Jackson.
- Over in Wake Forest, North Carolina, voters supported a $14.4 million bond solely dedicated to improvements on three town greenways and the construction of nearly 5 miles of additional pathways.
- In Salt Lake City, Utah, voters approved an $80 million public land bond that will provide recreational opportunities and natural area protection, with an emphasis on several bike projects and trails.
- Voters in Salem, Oregon, supported a large municipal bond to fund critical infrastructure projects, with a stated focus on multimodal needs and park improvements. At least $25 million in funding will be specifically dedicated to safer bicycle routes and crossings.
- In San Francisco, California, the combined results of Measures I and J maintained car-free space in Golden Gate Park and along JFK Drive, two of San Francisco's significant routes dedicated to biking, walking, and active transportation.
Funding for these measures and 35-plus others embodies the groundswell in community support for safer and more accessible infrastructure. Regular people in dozens of cities and counties voted to raise or extend property, sales, and/or income taxes to fund this new local infrastructure directly or via bonds. Many measures also established community oversight boards to ensure the projects are being built as intended and with robust community input.
A big thank you to the millions of you who were part of this success — by voting, spreading the word, or simply riding in your hometown and demonstrating the importance of this infrastructure. Stay tuned in 2023 as PeopleForBikes continues to monitor local elections and build awareness around opportunities for better biking infrastructure!