Guest Editorial: Turning Scottsdale (And Other Cities) Gold into Platinum Two Wheels at a Time

By Recker McDowell

Scottsdale is already pretty bike friendly. The city has 174 miles of bike lanes and another 129 miles of paths cyclists can use.

Scottsdale has Gold status from the League of American Bicyclists as does Tempe, Tucson, Oro Valley and Arizona three public universities (ASU, NAU and UofA).

No jurisdiction or entity in Arizona has the platinum status from the national cycling group.

Scottsdale wants to turn its gold status into platinum and so should other cities and places in Arizona.

Scottsdale has had the gold status since 2011 and is looking to get upgraded. Bicycling is increasingly showing its benefits to tourism and economic development.

Just check out Old Town Scottsdale where you will see tourists using bikes and exploring the area. Other ‘bikers’ enjoy hiking and mountain trails.

Tourism (and weekend outing for locals) are about experience. Being as bicycle friendly as possible helps build those experiences. Cities such as Scottsdale and universities know it is important. But it doesn’t hurt to encourage them to be even more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

That means making sure zoning, land-use and other government policies are as friendly as they can be towards bikes and pedestrians.

There are also potential economic development payoffs for being as bike friendly as possible. More and more workers (and not just millennials) want flexibility in where they work and how they get to work.

Being a bike friendly place can be another attribute to tout to employers and their workers, especially the kind we want to attract more of in Arizona.