Secretary LaHood: Policy statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations & Recommendations

Secretary Ray LaHood made this important announcement regarding highway funding and bike/ped facilities:

“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.”

Click on the link above to read the full story & click here for the new policy statement.

This is good news of course. I think our task is to ensure this mandate is not met by merely throwing bike/ped facilities into the same sprawl-pattern developments. It would result in those pics Andres Duany shows of the lonely and out-of-place pedestrian on the sidewalk dominated by a highway. It does little good to build bike/ped facilities if there is nowhere practical to go and it is not a place anyone wishes to be. I know that is not what Secretary LaHood has in mind.

This would be a good message to share with Shelley Poticha and her colleagues at CNU18: the new bike/ped policy should support communities that embrace walkable (ridable?) neighborhoods. In other words, the sustainable value is not in the mere presence of bike/ped facilities, but their integration into a neighborhood that functions to support bicycling and walking.

Photo: Strip development in Orlando: A bike lane won't mean much here. Real value comes from integrating bike/ped facilities in neighborhoods that support them.


Appreciate Sec. LaHood's Candor—Unless You're a Highway Lobbyist

Although the idea that pedestrian and cyclists shouldn't be second-class citizens on the roads shouldn't be a controversial proposition, it still set off alarm bells among highway diehards participating in a National Journal's Expert Forum. The Reason Foundation's highway guru Bob Poole raised the canard that those on two feet or two wheels don't have a real claim to their road space because they don't pay gas taxes to build them. He's taking a self-defeating position — roads that fail to serve pedestrians and bicyclists fail as public spaces and suffer mightily in their ability to support high-value commerce and community life. And he should bone up on some of the findings out of Texas when Mike Krusee was head of the Texas House Transportation Committee where the DOT fond highways never came anywhere close to paying for themselves in gas tax receipts. The case for driver supremacy looks more shaky than ever.

MLewyn's picture

Perhaps too candid, and impractical too

I worry that Secretary LaHood's statement and the resulting brouhaha has made it more likely that anything coming out of this Administration will be controversial- not good news, especially after the Democrats get whacked in the midterm elections.

Moreover, I'm not sure there's enough substance there to justify the controversy; I don't even know what it means for bicyclists to be "equal" to drivers.

So you may wind up with a situation where bicyclist/pedestrian interests are even worse off than before, because the gain from Administration support is balanced out by the loss of Congressional support (especially on the Republican side).


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