The final report from the Wyoming Legislature’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force has been released, after two years of studying the benefits and challenges of improving old and creating new pathways and natural trail surfaces.
Among its recommendations, the task force advised the Wyoming Legislature to invest $10 million annually in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, like enhanced walkable main streets and rural cycling routes across the state.
Task force chairman Tim Young said the report includes other recommendations that would not cost a lot of money, like collaborations across agencies.
“I think the practical advice that’s included in the recommendations includes how agencies can collaborate on projects, where one agency may be in the right position to be the lead agency,” said Young. “But another agency could participate, and that collaboration can save money and be more efficient with better results for our communities.”
Only about five percent of Wyomingites walk or bike to work. However, Young said, that statistic doesn’t include all activity across the state.
“We might go to the store to go shopping, kids might go to school. People may go visit their friends, we may go for services we need,” said Young. “When you add up all the other trips we do for different purposes, I think that walking and biking is a higher percentage, so I think it’s encouraging, Wyoming has a fair amount of use already.”
The task force also studied the health benefits of well-designed pathways and found they led to decreased obesity, a lower risk of chronic diseases, and better ability to complete daily activities. The legislature will consider the recommendations during its upcoming budget session.