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Touting new survey, LaHood helps clear the way for more bikeways

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“More cars on more roads may not be the best way to move people more effectively.”
— Ray LaHood, US Secretary of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is doing more than his part to dismantle our nation’s car-centric status-quo. After his “end of favoring motorized transportation” proclamation last month, LaHood is now telling anyone who will listen that the American people have his back.

As validation of his views, LaHood is touting a new survey released by Transportation for America that shows a majority of Americans want options — other than wider roads for cars — to get around and relieve congestion.

From T4 America’s Future of National Transportation Survey.

T4 America’s Future of National Transportation Survey found (among other things) that, when asked about reducing congestion, 3-out-of-5 people said they want improved public transportation and easier biking and walking over building more roads and expanding existing roads.

LaHood is not being shy about the survey findings. On his Fast Lane blog today, LaHood wrote:

“People are always going to drive cars. And we are always going to rely on the hardworking trucking community to haul our nation’s freight. We’ve made a huge investment in our interstate highway system, and that’s not going away. We are going to continue maintaining that investment.

But we do have many modes of transportation in this country, many different ways of getting around. Why not make room at the table for bicycling and walking?”

LaHood also looked to answer critics of his views by telling a New York Times blog, “This is not just Ray LaHood’s agenda, this is the American agenda; people want alternatives to the automobile.” And in a Twitter update a few hours ago, LaHood wrote, “More cars on more roads may not be the best way to move people more effectively.”

All of this rhetoric from the head of the US DOT could create the political breathing room for Congress and the Obama Adminstration to move toward slicing up the transportation pie a bit differently in months and years to come — and it could lead toward bikes getting a larger piece.

For more on the T4 America survey, watch the slide presentation below: