Build a Bicycle- and Pedestrian-Friendly Jackson | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Build a Bicycle- and Pedestrian-Friendly Jackson

Photo by Courtesy Melody Moody

Beyond Cars


The key to change is finding simple, affordable tools that are easily accessible for people of all ages, races, socio-economic levels and abilities. When you look at cities around the U.S. and the world—places with some of the happiest, healthiest people, and places where people most want to live and raise families—they are also some of the most bicycle-friendly places.

It is hard to argue with facts that demonstrate that cities around the nation that have invested in biking and pedestrian infrastructure have seen dramatic increases in local economic development and quality of life.

• Businesses see increased profits, and residents see increased property values around areas with trails and multi-use paths. Mississippi examples include the Longleaf Trace in Hattiesburg, and the Tanglefoot Trail in north Mississippi. Locally, the creation of the Museum to Market and Lefleur East Trail in Jackson promise renewed economic activity.

• Communities thrive when its citizens walk or ride bicycles. People experience their city first-hand and not from the window of a car. They invest in local businesses and help foster a city that attracts and retains young talent.

• Investing in a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly city benefits everyone. Better infrastructure includes sidewalks and improved roads in addition to bike lanes and trails.

• Statistically, more people on bikes create safer streets for everyone using the roads.

• "Complete streets" policies lay the foundation for smart, long-term strategies to create streets that accommodate all road users - not just motorists. These efforts provide for a more inclusive Jackson with an environment and infrastructure that supports motorists as well as pedestrians, runners, bicyclists, disabled people, children, and others who can't or don't drive.

To create a connected, more livable community—instead of one based around cars and urban sprawl—people must speak out for a viable alternative. If citizens want to safely cross streets, ride with their children or simply go for a walk, then they must speak up for a bicycle- and 
pedestrian-friendly city.

Jackson needs infrastructure and policies that support biking and walking. It needs businesses that encourage pedestrian traffic and provide bike racks to encourage people to ride bikes. It needs events that support a biking and pedestrian-friendly culture. It needs safer roads to ride on, more sidewalks to walk on, and it needs people to stand up and to make it part of the economic conversation.

When you see a bicyclist riding down the streets of Jackson, remember that they are not just there to slow down your commute. They are a part of what is making our city a better place to live.

The Biking Community

Jackson has a thriving bike culture with a lot of ways to get involved:

• The Jackson Bike Advocates' monthly community bike rides start in the Rainbow Whole Foods Grocery parking lot on the last Friday of every month at 6 p.m.

• The JXN Community Bike Shop in Midtown provides opportunities to learn about bike repair and maintenance.

• JBA hosts a Museum to Market Trail clean-up day.

• The statewide "Bike Summit" is Oct. 2 at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Meet and mingle with bike advocates from around the state.

• JBA advocates to demand changes that leads to a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly Jackson.

Keep up with these opportunities and get involved through Bike Walk Mississippi, a statewide bicycle- and pedestrian-advocacy organization headquartered in Jackson. Visit for more info.

Melody Moody is a co-founder of the Jackson Bike Advocates and now serves as executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi. Bicycling Magazine recently featured Moody as a 2013 Innovator in Bicycle Advocacy. Bike Walk Mississippi received the 2013 Advocacy Organization of the Year award from the National Alliance for Biking and Walking.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, the winner of the 2013 Advocacy Organization of the Year award was incorrectly named. We apologize for the error.

See also:

What Our City Needs

Vision 2022: A Regional Vision

Green Space

Big Ideas: Getting Jacksonians into City Parks

Revisited: Town Creek

Defined: People's Assemblies

New Idea: More Than Sports

Bright Idea: Conserve Energy, Create Jobs

Filling the Emptiness

Your JXN Idea

Best Practice: Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum

What the Heck Is An IBA?

Radical Idea: Vacancy Tax

Everyone Needs a Roof

Jackson Planning Map

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melody 8 years, 1 month ago

Also, just a clarification for anyone who may be confused regarding the different groups working toward a more bicycle friendly Jackson. The Jackson Bike Advocates is the LOCAL bicycle advocacy group and Bike Walk Mississippi is the STATEWIDE bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization - both are headquartered in Jackson but Bike Walk also works with communities across Mississippi. Both groups work in their own unique ways to advocate for bicycle friendliness in Jackson and even work together on many issues, including policy change, increasing ridership and the Jxn Community Bike Shop, however both groups remain separate entities.

Also, here are a couple of links about the above "ways to get involved" for anyone interested:

Jackson Bike Advocates' Facebook: (They post about local issues & about the community ride on the last Friday of every month)

JXN Community Bike Shop: (In Midtown and open every Sunday from 1-4 and Wednesdays from 6-9pm)

Bike Walk Mississippi:,, and don't forget to attend the first statewide "Bike Summit" at the Ag Museum on Wed. October 2nd from 9am-5pm. Sign up at:


melody 8 years ago

Here are some of the references I used for this article. These are only a few highlights of the statistics and studies that are out there that directly show the correlation between economic development and investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

  • Here is a link to a fantastic study around the national regarding "The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure". On page #19 of this 27 page document featuring compiled statistics around the U.S. is a Mississippi example is given that uses Moore's Bike Shop in Hattiesburg as a very tangible example.">

  • To support some of the other items mentioned in the story: According to the UN's recently released, “Global Report on Happiness”, both Denmark (happiest) and the Netherlands (4th happiest) countries on Earth are also known for being the most bicycle friendly countries.">

  • This article itself links to many, many academic studies, specifically, "The Social and Economic Benefits of Transportation Enhancements (multiple sources)

  • Statistics and studies (there are so many) for one of the items mentioned in the article that stated that the more bicyclists on the road - the safer it becomes for everyone.">

  • Here is a video presentation including the Longleaf Trace in Hattiesburg and other trails around the nations as a direct example of the possibilities of economic boost in communities:

  • Here is an academic article that talks specifically about "Employment Impacts of Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure" Using bid price and cost data, the study compares 58 projects in 11 cities and finds that bike projects create 46 percent more jobs than road projects without any bike or pedestrian component. For example, on average, “road-only” projects created 7.8 jobs per $1 million, while “bicycling only” projects provided 11.4 jobs per $1 million. For instance, a roadway-focused project with no bicycle or pedestrian component in Santa Cruz, Calif. resulted in 4.94 jobs per $1 million spent. In contrast, a bicycle-focused project in Baltimore produced 14.35 jobs per $1 million. and gives examples including

  • And, of course, here is a very basic link from Bike Walk Mississippi's website that outlines some of the direct impacts of investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

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