Well at least that’s what United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood would have us believe. He made the following announcement in his blog yesterday…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.
(Emphasis mine. Here’s the link to the rest of the article… DOT Website)
It’s an impressive list, and one I would heartily endorse. In fact I would love it if Canadian Minister of Transportation John Baird would issue a similar statement. To be fair, he may well have done so, but a search of Transport Canada’s website has yet to reveal a national policy on the integration of human-powered transportation into provincial and municipal infrastructure. If anyone out there knows where to find it, please send me a link.
In the meantime, if LaHood does succeed in his stated desire to end the conflict between cars, bicycles and pedestrians, it will hold out some hope for a healthier, more environmentally friendly future.