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This simple graphic explains Ohio lags Midwest in bike lanes, transit, and talent attraction

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/20/15 @ 11:00am  |  Posted in Biking, Walking

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why Ohio metros lag behind peer cities in the Midwest building the bike lanes, walkable streets, and new transit service that are the hallmarks of Millennial talent attraction.

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It just takes about five minutes of using the new, U.S. Department of Transportation Transportation and Health Tool. It is online, so anyone can access the metrics that matter when comparing states. We used it to trace why, for example, Minneapolis is approaching 5% of its population biking to work? Why is 14% of Pittsburgh’s population using transit (more than Seattle)? Heck, why is Detroit the fastest growing bike city?

The answer is pretty clear: State policy and funding. It is a virtuous cycle. The states that have either Complete Streets policies (Minnesota and Michigan) or that rank near the top nationally in funding low-carbon forms of transportation (Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Indiana) are attracting young people to live in their cities. Ohio’s state elected officials have made choices not to be included in either category. It is a big cause of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati’s low rank among their peers in rankings like Best Biking Cities. Here’s the tale of the tape.

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Marc
1 year ago

Thanks for the comment. While I agree, there are strengths to the economies you mention over Ohio's, there's also a big difference in how much states support the building of vibrant, urban places -- with bike lanes and great walking environments, too (as seen in the graph showing the use of federal funds for biking and pedestrian facilities).

Reasonable
1 year ago

I'm a millennial and just graduated with my master's degree from a top tier university. Unfortunately though, I don't fit your demographic of what a millennial seeks after in a place of residence. I don't concern myself with what cities have the best bike systems, public transportation, or green space. These are nice aspects of city living, but the most important is that a given city is producing meaningful employment opportunities.

I currently live in Pittsburgh and the reason millennials are moving here is because there are lots of jobs here and it's a cheap place to live. Millennials get jobs in a given city, bring their bikes, and demand bike lanes. It's in this order, not the reverse.

Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis all have thriving companies that produce many jobs. When Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati can beat these cities in job creation, they will also get their bike lanes.

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