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.
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.
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 livability, transit, 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.