The Financial Case for Bicycle Parking at City Hall
Doug Ford calls the proposed bike parking station in the City Hall parking lot "gravy". That makes him precisely wrong. Bicycle infrastructure offers the cheapest solution to two very difficult problems that threaten Toronto's future prosperity: the increasing cost of health care, and transportation gridlock in the GTA.
A recent documentary on PBS claimed that obesity adds ten thousand dollars annually to the health care costs of everyone who suffers from it. Even those who doubt those figures agree sedentary lifestyles lead to a constellation of symptoms similar to the effects of tobacco addiction, with similar effects on health care costs and absenteeism. Urban design plays a critical role in encouraging or discouraging physical activity. Assuming the proposed bicycle facility lasts for ten years without a major overhaul, it will cost about $200,000 per year, including the maximum estimates for the cost of foregone parking revenue. If this facility attracts only twenty new bicycle riders, or seven percent of its designed capacity, it will pay for itself in savings on health care costs alone.
A break even load factor of 7%: transportation investments don't get any sweeter than that. For the physical, transportation, and financial health of this city and its taxpayers, let's get this facility approved and built.