Three years from now, if construction work goes as planned, Burbank will boast a new bike path that will provide a connection to the downtown Metrolink station from the existing Lake-Alameda path. This is good news for cyclists and pedestrians alike. It will also provide a host of benefits to the city, its businesses and the many residents who will gain from this project.
Naturally, there is a price tag involved — in this case an estimated $4.4 million. We understand the pause that might have given Vice Mayor David Gordon, who called the project’s cost “staggering,” especially in light of the fact that a path about twice its length, the Chandler Bikeway, was finished for $2.7 million. We appreciate Gordon’s awareness that the City Council must be cautious and disciplined when considering how Burbank’s dollars are spent. Sometimes you just have to put the brakes on spending.
But not in this case. Much of the new bike path, which will require more complex construction than did the Chandler Bikeway, will be grant funded, with $2.7 million coming from the state. We must take advantage of such opportunities to keep moving forward.
It’s been demonstrated that putting solid bike-path infrastructure in place entices more people to give up their cars and opt for bicycling. Whether they are commuting to work, taking care of small errands or simply savoring the great feeling that a recreational experience can give them, individuals who push pedals instead of accelerators are doing society a favor.
For one, cyclists can better interact with their environment. They are very likely to spend money in local businesses that they can easily access without hunting for a good parking space. And, they don’t leave a carbon footprint on our world.
Also important to take into consideration are the obvious health benefits to the riders and pedestrians such as weight loss, reduced blood pressure and even boosted mobility and strength, all of which translate in the long run to lower healthcare costs for communities.
It is clear to us this project will give Burbank and its residents a healthy return on the city and state’s investment and that its approval was a wise course of action.