Grist Magazine has an interesting interview with Transportation Secretary LaHood’s take on livable communities. Highlights for bicyclists include his discussion of growing up riding a bike and being able to bike all over Washington, DC. Then he said:
“On the day that I was going to the streetcar inauguration in Portland, I saw over 200 people at 7:30 in the morning riding their bikes to work. I’ve seen what’s happened here in Washington with walking and biking paths, the biking avenues or lanes that have been created along Pennsylvania Avenue, along 14th street and 16th street. It’s what Americans want.”
The Secretary of Transportation is aware that people are increasingly interested in bicycling and alternative infrastructure.
“I think we’ve sent a pretty loud message that one of our signature transportation programs will be livable and sustainable communities. … [These programs are] not going to go away, not because of Ray LaHood or because of Barack Obama, but because this is what people want. Once politicians begin to learn that, they begin to adopt the idea that these are good opportunities for their constituents and for Americans.”
Now, throughout the interview, LaHood emphasizes walking and biking paths rather than friendlier streets. However, the shift of focus from building more motor vehicle infrastructure to thinking about what makes a community pleasant to live in bodes well for our future. It’s our responsibility as informed citizens to let our politicians know that we care about the communities we live in. That’s just one reason I hope you did your homework and voted. For the rest of the year, your support for the Bicycle Alliance means that we can continue advocating for the kinds of changes Secretary LaHood supports.
And, for those of you who feel extra concerned about the safety of any new infrastructure, there’s the airbag bike helmet.