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US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s view from atop the table at the National Bike Summit

US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s view from atop the table at the National Bike Summit

 US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHoods view from atop the table at the National Bike Summit
This picture © J. Maus of Bike Portland. View the Bike Portland Flickr stream here.

By now you may have heard about my “tabletop speech” at the National Bike Summit last week.

If you missed the summit or want to relive the excitement, here’s some footage courtesy of Streetsblog SF; it’s a bit jumpy, but that seems entirely consistent with the scene.

Somewhere in the frenzy, I managed to thank summit-goers for being such effective advocates for livable, sustainable, bike-friendly communities.

Well, that was fun, but the dust has settled and I have news. The crowd’s enthusiasm was so contagious, the idea of introducing a major policy revision in that setting quickly evaporated.

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.

To set this approach in motion, we have formulated 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.

Now, this is a start, but it’s an important start. These initial steps forward will help us move forward even further.

 US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHoods view from atop the table at the National Bike Summit
Photo by Jeffrey Martin courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists.

And the Obama Administration hasn’t been sitting idle on the bike front this past year either.

Just last month through our TIGER program, we funded major bicycle projects in Indianapolis and in the Philadelphia-Camden-Trenton region.

And our ongoing inter-agency DOT-EPA-HUD partnership on sustainable communities actively encourages planning for walkability and bikability. We think livability means giving folks the flexibility to choose their own mobility.

Look, bike projects are relatively fast and inexpensive to build and are environmentally sustainable; they reduce travel costs, dramatically improve safety and public health, and reconnect citizens with their communities.

So, thank you to the League of American Bicyclists and all those who gave me such a raucous welcome the other night.

Last year’s summit was something; this year was something else. I can’t even imagine what next year’s gathering will produce, but I know I want to be part of it.

In closing, here’s another angle from the League’s YouTube channel: