Tag Archives: federal

4 out of 5 Americans want carfree choices

I  talk to a lot of people about cycling, and many of these people are normal, car-commuting workers and students.  While they’re often skeptical that roads can be redesigned to accommodate all transportation modes, they’re very rarely anti-bike or flat-out opposed to not driving.  In fact, when you get down to the heart of it, most drivers use cars because they feel they have no choice, not because they prefer driving.

voters want alternatives to driving

Today, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blogged a statistic that shows the majority of Americans strongly want broadened transit options and less dependence on cars.  I suspect Ray’s statement is a counter to the partisan criticism that Ray received after his recent statements supporting improved bicycling infrastructure.

no choice but to drive

Ray also says that the improved livability we seek here in Denton is truly a common goal that he sees in cities all over America.  With the statistical support, partisan critics ought to heed the voters actual preferences, not a de facto idea that most people must love driving everywhere, all the time.

This is precisely what I’ve been talking about here in this blog with regard to livabilitytransit, and walking and biking. I have traveled all over this country in the past 14 months, and everywhere I go people want better options. Options that offer reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. Options that offer reduced fuel-consumption. Options that offer better health. Options that bring communities together.

Now, let me make this absolutely clear: I never said we would stop repairing, maintaining, and–yes–even expanding roadways. I said only that it’s time to stop assuming that putting more cars on more roads is the best way to move people around more effectively.

This survey demonstrates that, by and large, the American people get that. I never doubted them, but it sure is nice to see the numbers.


The writing on the wall

Ray LaHood, speaking in DC

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.

Photo by Jeffrey Martin, courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists.