“This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”
— US DOT Sec. Ray LaHood
US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a new set of pro-bicycling and walking policy recommendations meant to inform transportation planning at the state and community level.
He announced them on his blog this morning, after the “dust settled” on his enthusiastic speech at the National Bike Summit Thursday night. Why didn’t he announce them in front of 700-plus bike advocates? “The crowd’s enthusiasm was so contagious,” he wrote, “the idea of introducing a major policy revision in that setting quickly evaporated.”
Here’s how Sec. LaHood introduces these policy revisions:
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.
And here are Sec. LaHood’s “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.
The official document behind Sec. LaHood’s recommendations has just been posted online and is titled, United States Department of Transportation Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. The purpose of the memo is to officially amend the United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations.
The summary of the revised policy statement, which hasn’t been updated in almost a decade, states:
“The new policy statement indicates the Department’s strong commitment to accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians as an integral part of the transportation system by: Ensuring that the accommodation of walking and biking is addressed throughout the planning process.”
About the new policy languange, Sec. LaHood says, “This is a start, but it’s an important start,” and he adds that, “These initial steps forward will help us move forward even further.”
Read the full policy statement on the Federal Highway Administration’s website.