A municipality wants to add bike lanes to several stretches of local roadways. Local funding is limited so the decision makers want to explore possible grant opportunities. Finding grants that specifically fund bike lanes is the obvious place to start. However, there are several different ways to validate the need for bike lanes.
Think of all the different benefits that might result from the bike lanes. Each one of them can turn into a potential funding avenue. The bike path might help all citizens be healthier. It might do good things for the environment. It might further the cause of bicycling in general. By way of example, below are funding sources for each of these approaches.
Possible funding theme: Health and Wellness
Even a relaxing bike ride at 10 mph will burn 281 calories, according to NutriStrategy. Thus, adding bike lanes to a community will provide a safe way for people to get exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Applications to health and wellness agencies could include statements from local health and wellness experts about the chance to increase exercise opportunities with the addition of bike lanes. One available grant for this funding theme is from Aetna. This grant program supports projects that identify causes of obesity and potential best practices for addressing obesity, specifically the impact of our neighborhoods and on the “built environment” for promoting population health and weight loss. Grants that serve under-served, low-income, and minority communities will receive special consideration. Specific dates for the 2015 grant cycle have not been released yet though it is expected applications will be accepted beginning in April. Awarded grants will total either $25,000 or $50,000.
Possible funding theme: The Environment
With dedicated bike lanes, community members may be more likely to ride their bike to work or to run errands. That would mean more cars are left parked in the garage, thus reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. Grants that support environmental projects or aim to reduce pollution would be another great theme for the construction of bike lanes. The Energy Foundation would be a great resource for this subject. The Climate Program, The Public Engagement Program, and the Transportation Program, all through this foundation, would be possible avenues for funding. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.
Possible funding theme: Bike Lanes
Never overlook the obvious. Bike lanes can be funded by grantors looking to increase bike traffic and bike projects. The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program would be a great place to start. This grant program provides funding for projects that encourage bicycling in communities across the country, specifically bicycle infrastructure. Non-profit organizations, city and county governments, or state and federal agencies working locally are eligible to apply. PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, and equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. The maximum grant award is $10,000. The spring grant cycle ends soon, on Jan. 30. Don’t fret. The next grant cycle begins June 15.
Photo Credit: Till Krech