Did You Know?

Only 24 percent of jobs in the region are accessible by transit in 90 minutes or less by a typical resident — and that number drops to 12 percent in the suburbs.

Move to a town with trails

 As a bicycle advocate in the Chicago Southland (my livelihood), my phone rings lots of times to introduce me to someone who moved into a community for very good reasons (usually), but now something’s changed — maybe they’re frustrated with traffic issues, or they wish their kids could get to school on their own, or their health has changed and they’ve got (literally) marching orders from their doctor — and now they’ve realized that without a car, they’re trapped. Think 1948 Berlin and you don’t have an airplane: Without a car, lots of suburbanites in 2009 aren’t getting beyond that blockade of big arterial streets. And they’re calling me for help. (Does that make me Truman?)(No, it doesn’t.)

I’m thinking though that bike and walk friendliness, including trail access, is moving up the agenda of individuals and families leaving the city for the suburban lifestyle – in other words, the suburban lifestyle is beginning to include easy, car-free access to trails. This is fantastic news, as the Southland is well positioned to capitalize on the growing desire to live near trails; with the completion of the Calumet-Sag Trail, we’ll have more communities within a 15-minute bike time of a trail than any region in Illinois. Prospective residents will have a smorgasbord of communities to choose from without having to sacrifice the opportunity to lead an active lifestyle. Busting open trail access to so many towns in the Southland will reverberate across the Triple Bottom Line, bringing benefits beyond improved physical health for everyone.

And now the wellness benefits of trail access are well documented: get yourself excited over this article about a Drexel University study on the influence of trail access on community wellness.