In light of a new bike trail on the West Side, do cyclists in low-income areas have the same opportunities as bike commuters in wealthier neighborhoods?


By Kitty McConnell
Columbus Alive

In Franklin County, one in two whites and seven in 10 Asians live in areas rated as having a “high opportunity index.” Comparatively, only three in 10 Hispanics or Latinos, and less than one in five African-Americans live in Columbus’ areas of “high” opportunity, as measured by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. (Their joint research was published in the 2012 Neighborhoods & Community Development in Franklin County report, commissioned by the Community Development Collaborative of Greater Columbus.)

Franklin County’s opportunity index mapping was based on data compiled using key socio-economic indicators including: housing, home ownership and neighborhood factors; transit, mean commute time, unemployment rates and job access; incarceration rates and access to healthcare, and school performance, student poverty and educational attainment levels.

“Transportation is always one of the key components of those maps and indexes. It’s a critical aspect of accessing opportunity,” said Matt Martin, senior researcher at the Kirwan Institute. “Columbus is a very car-centric city. People talk about, ‘You can get anywhere in Columbus in 20 minutes.’ Well, you can get anywhere in Columbus in 20 minutes by car, but it takes a lot longer to get around if you don’t have one.”

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