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Bicycles and the Governor’s climate change report

Posted by on March 3rd, 2008 at 12:54 pm

“The State can invest directly… in building pedestrian or bicycle facilities in areas that are underserved.”
–From a report released by the Governor’s Climate Change Integration Group. (Download full report below.)

An advisory group of climate change experts convened by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has just released a far-reaching report titled, A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change.

The 115 page report was authored by the Governor’s Climate Change Integration Group which was created in May 2006 to, “develop a climate change strategy for Oregon that provides long-term sustainability for the environment, protect public health, consider social equity, create economic opportunity, and expand public awareness”.

Of particular interest are the few times (five total) where the word “bicycle” is mentioned; all in sections that recommend using transportation and land use planning to discourage driving and encourage other modes of travel.

In a bullet point under section 7.4.4: Pricing policies to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT); the report states (emphases mine):

“…Reducing/eliminating minimum parking requirements for businesses, or creating maximum parking requirements. Minimum parking requirements are often based on infrequent peak events, and may result in large underused parking areas for much of the rest of the time. Minimum requirements can provide a bias in favor of car drivers at the expense of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit users.”

In section 7.4.5, Transportation options programs to reduce VMT, the report states:

“Other methods reduce VMT by shifting trips to more energy efficient modes. Currently, 71.4 percent of Oregonians drive alone towork, which produces far more greenhouse gases per person/mile than other modes such as carpooling, bicycling, walking, transit and rail. The State can invest directly in improving transit service, creating vanpools, or in building pedestrian or bicycle facilities in areas that are underserved. The majority of all federal transportation dollars are flexible, yet 53 percent of them go toward highway infrastructure, while only 12 percent go toward transit. The State could redirect more of this funding toward alternative transportation instead of using it primarily to build new roads.

However, many cities already have transit or bicycle/pedestrian systems that are underutilized, and the State can also help by investing in programs to promote transportation alternatives.”

In section 7.4.6, Land-use planning to reduce VMT , the report states:

“Innovative land-use planning that addresses urban sprawl and growing commute distances has a large potential to reduce carbon emissions. …Higher-density, mixed-use developments are much easier to serve with transit and reduce the distances between residences and destinations, making bicycle and pedestrian trips much more feasible.”

According to Rex Burkholder, a Metro Council and member of the Governor’s Climate Change Integration Group, this report will now go to the Global Warming Advisory Commission. Burkholder says the goal is to turn the recommendations in this report into legislation for 2009 and specific actions by state agencies.

Download the entire report here (2 MB, PDF). *The VMT section that mentions bicycles is on pages 50-54.

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  • Matthew March 3, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    \”The majority of all federal transportation dollars are flexible, yet 53 percent of them go toward highway infrastructure\”

    Hummm, so all it would take is a little political will to get our $24M?

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  • Andy B from Jersey March 4, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    At least your state\’s climate change report mentioned bicycles at all. Bicycles weren\’t even on the \”radar screen\” of anyone who had anything to do with New Jersey\’s version of this report.

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