Earlier this week, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made some bold, bold statements to send a strong message to state and local transportation planners about the de-prioritization of car-centric road design. Ray is atop the entire American transportation hierarchy, so these bold statements should be accompanied with eventual funding impetus. The FTA already announced an official policy shift. Yeah, your gut instinct is right, this is a REALLY BIG DEAL. Local and regional transportation planners ought to see this as the writing on the wall.
Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.
We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:
- Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
- Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
- Go beyond minimum design standards.
- Collect data on walking and biking trips.
- Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
- Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
- Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.
Now, this is a start, but it’s an important start. These initial steps forward will help us move forward even further.
In addition to the previous written statements on his blog, Ray hoisted himself atop a table at a DC talk and stated:
I’ve been all over America, and where I’ve been in America I’ve been very proud to talk about the fact that people do want alternatives. They want out of their cars, they want out of congestion, they want to live in livable neighborhoods and livable communities.