Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Complete Streets

The U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama administration is taking the country's transportation policy in an exciting new direction.  Secretary Ray LaHood stood up recently at a gathering of advocates in Washington to talk about bicycling and walking and the move to embrace them as transportation in the eyes of the federal government.  (For more click on the post title "Complete Streets")

It's an important policy statement that signals a direction for the nation's local, regional and state governments, but also to engineers and practioners in the private sector who also shape land use and transportation systems design across the continent.  (As an advocate I drift across the border and learn from colleagues abroad, and likewise professionals and community activists are increasingly bringing their expertise and ideas to share with us).

It's a short news release but rich in content that expresses where we need to be too.  The future of transportation and our future as a species depends upon a mobility revolution that must shift us to  more sustainable choices.  Obama was a dependable supporter of alternative transportation as he worked through the earlier stages of his career in Chicago, sponsoring bills and initiatives for my friends at the then Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (now the Active Transportation Alliance).  It's nice to see the commitment given new expression.

Here at home I'm working on my own initiatives on corridor protection for cycling and pedestrian facilities, a complete streets policy that aims to level the playing (and investment) fields to better support cycling, walking and transit, and, key to our Johnson Street bridge discussion, a policy directive to ensure accommodation on new or rehabilitated bridge projects (at no less the level of service provided to motorists) as a matter of municipal policy and as a requirement of federal and provincial funding and gas tax allocations.  I hope to bring it to my council and from there to the Union of BC Municipalities convention in the fall.

In the meantime, check the fresh news section (to your right), where I'll be highlighting the latest on current issues and events in the community that I'm working on or lending my support to.  To bring it back to the discussion of sustainable transportation, a threat to the integrity of the Galloping Goose is behind my concern for corridor protectio.  The news item on this will lead you to a call to action on this important issue.

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