bicycles and the human foot would be elevated to parity with motor vehicles

פורסם: 24 במרץ 2010, 13:05 על ידי: Sustainability Org

By Michael Dresser Getting there

March 22, 2010

It didn't get much media attention outside bicycle-enthusiast circles, but last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made what might have been one of the most important policy shifts to come out of his department in decades.

Upending years of federal transportation policy, LaHood declared that henceforth bicycles and the human foot would be elevated to parity with motor vehicles.

Calling the new policy "a sea change," LaHood announced: "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."

To see what LaHood means, all you have to do is drive along any major U.S. highway - except interstates, from which bikes and walkers are banned entirely - and imagine trying to use it on a bicycle or on foot. Yup, the word "deathtrap" isn't too strong.

It remains to be seen whether the long-standing bias in favor of the internal combustion engine will change because of a policy pronouncement from the secretary. It won't count for much if it isn't backed up by dollars and cents.

But LaHood sounded as if he means business, saying the department will discourage transportation investments that disadvantage bicyclists and walkers and encourage those that aid them. He said the federal government will urge state departments of transportation to "treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes."

I wouldn't read this as saying the feds will match highway expenditures with bike spending dollar for dollar, but the next time someone proposes a road such as Maryland's Inter-county Connector, a bike path alongside might help its chances of approval.

You can read LaHood's full statement at his blog: Scroll down to the March 15 entry.

Thanks to the Greater Greater Washington blog for spotting this news, which most mainstream news outlets overlooked.

Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun,0,2481512.story

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