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PHOTO CAPTION: Bicycles parked along Chicago thoroughfare.

How Bicycling Is Transforming Cities, Businesses

Jay Walljasper finds that cities are discovering that providing good bicycling environment is attracting businesses and young professional to their downtowns.

Published: 06-Jan-2013

ing is definitely part of our strategy to attract and retain businesses in order to compete in a mobile world,” says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, as we glide across the Mississippi River on one of two bike-and-pedestrian bridges that connect downtown to the University of Minnesota. “We want young talent to come here and stay. And good biking is one of the least expensive ways to send that message.”

As we turn onto to a riverside bike path to inspect another span, the mayor recounts a recent conversation. “I was having dinner with a creative director that a local firm was eager to hire for a key post. He was an American living in Europe, and we spent most of the evening talking about the importance of biking and walking to the life of a city,” Rybak says, smiling. “He took the job.”

Now the city lands near the top of all lists ranking America’s best bike cities. That “ratchets up” the city’s appeal to businesses in many fields, Rybak says.

“We moved from the suburbs to downtown Minneapolis to allow our employees to take advantage of the area’s many trails,” explained Christine Fruechte, CEO of the advertising firm Colle + McVoy, in a newspaper op-ed.

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