U.S. Federal Transportation Policy Update
Kit Keller, Executive Director
For the latest analysis of the U.S. transportation bill, go to this page on the America Bikes website. Here's what we know for sure: get your projects paid for by September 30, 2012. Don't let current money go to waste.
The America Bikes partners will continue to analyze the U.S. bill in the coming days, weeks and months. We'll continue to highlight the latest developments on the home page at www.apbp.org; I urge you to join APBP's Policy and Legislation group. Bike/ped work in the U.S. will shift to the states to ensure maximum utilization of available funds for bicycling and walking.
Momentum is with us. More and more communities focus on sustainability best practices and becoming "green." I'm reminded of the 3 stages of social change: Ridicule | Violent Opposition | Acceptance. There is a fourth stage that sometimes occurs when the initial detractors tell others, "Oh, I was for that all along, I just needed a little clarification.”
Some highlights from the new bill:
• Calls "Transportation Enhancements” by another name: "Transportation Alternatives”.
• Retains an official State Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator position. APBP calls on state DOTs to retain or appoint full-time coordinators to ensure that citizens of their state can walk and bicycle safely to their destinations.
• Eliminates dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School. Full-time SRTS Coordinator positions are now discretionary. It is difficult to see how a wildly successful program like SRTS can continue to exist without dedicated funding or program managers at the state level. APBP strongly advocates that state Departments of Transportation continue to fund SRTS programs at the local level to ensure safety and health for America's next generation of transportation system users. If we truly value our children, we must invest in their future.
• Recognizes that most of the innovative transportation policy is happening in cities. (A small portion of TA funding filters down to the local level where it can be used to increase rates of bicycling and walking.) Programs like Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (this issue's feature story) are needed to change local road design. Government bodies that wisely use transportation funding for walking and bicycling will reap rewards and serve as role models to those policy makers who've missed the myriad value of making such investments. But, state DOTs can opt out of portions of the Transportation Alternatives funding and spend the money themselves, thus robbing communities of a proven path to prosperity.
• CMAQ and Surface Transportation Program continue to offer funding for bicycling and walking projects; however, watch for additional competitors.
Report from Velo-city
Kit Keller, Executive Director
Talk about ironic! Cycling experts the world over gathered in Vancouver, B.C. for Velo-city Global 2012 at the very moment the U.S. transportation bill took a wrong turn. A major take-away from the conference: U.S. policy makers must understand and experience sustainable transportation.
On behalf of APBP, Fionnuala Quinn and I presented the history and future of the Women Cycling Project to a standing room-only crowd. The session created quite a buzz and lots of continuing discussion. We met Sofia Lopez of Macleta, a website devoted to encouraging Chilean women to bicycle. The next step for this initiative is a jointly sponsored National Women Bicycling Summit immediately following ProWalk/ProBike®. You can follow the action on Twitter at @WomenBike.
Here are a few highlights of what I learned at the conference (see also Velo-city conference page and newsletter):
• Kevin Mayne of the European Cycling Federation (keynote) said safety in numbers happens regardless of culture, facilities, etc. Europe is cycling's road safety laboratory. Given that speed is the #1 killer, much attention is paid to ideas of shared space on roads, home zone speeds (e.g., 20's Plenty for Us). Have we thought of airbags on the outside of cars as a way to save lives of vulnerable users of our roadways?
• International Transport Forum offers useful reports here. ITF seeks to make urban transport work by empowering people. Michael Kloth, Secretary General of ITF, says bike sharing is a key ingredient.
• New tool to track bicycle usage seen in the exhibit area: a first in North America? Eco-Counter displayed a visual eco-totem that will soon count bicyclists on Portland, Oregon's Hawthorne Bridge. Counters like this were recommended by the 2010 International Scan report.
• Old buildings can have new life as ride-through trailhead facilities with restrooms, etc.; in Toronto, Downsview National Park transformed a former Canada Forces Base into a sustainable community.
• Casas GEO in Mexico is a developer that provides one bicycle with each affordable, transit-oriented home. They say it has given them a competitive edge to plan for the bicycle.
• Bike share in France allows 20 hours free use if returned to the same station in the suburbs; 30 minutes free at other stations. This addresses the conundrum that although bike sharing wasn't planned for commuters, commuters use the system which then requires major investment to balance the number of bikes maintained at certain stations.
• China is thinking big when it comes to bike sharing: Haixiao Pan says Hangzhou was first government in China to develop public bikeshare program: 2,177 stations and 65,000 bikes! He also told the audience that car ownership tripled in China in 5 years at same time bicycle use was discouraged. Sound familiar?
• Dr. Paul Tranter (keynote) says children now walk less than at any time in human history. Are we protecting them to death? He emphasized the need to engage children in change, saying: "Creating cycle-friendly cities? It's child's play!”
• Velo-city conferences sometimes feature a charter that you may be able to use in your work. For instance, cities that work for children is the essence of the Charter of Vancouver; read about that here.
• If all mayors were more like Changwon, South Korea's "Bicycle Mayor" Wan-Su Park (keynote), the world would be a healthier place!
• Odense, Denmark Mayor Steen Moller (keynote) says city's cycling safety programs have strong political support. How does your city compare?
• "New visions do not start with majority support." USA bike proponents take heart; you are ahead of your time. But keep pushing!
• Cities and countries where cycling works for transport do four things: create shared vision, plan, act creatively, and make investment.
• Senator Rodney Ellis (TX) (keynote) reminded Velo-city attendees to ask for what you want, work with people who look or think differently.
• People in car dominated cities spend more time traveling. Increased speed does not save time as distances increase. Do people spend more time earning money to buy a car than if they chose to live, work and play where all they needed were a bicycle, feet and a transit ticket? Real freedom of choice may be found in a car-less or car-free lifestyle.
• Electric assist and electric bikes (aka e-bikes) are being used globally in fleets and bike share programs. Watch for e-bikes to become popular in North America. Think about the potential for CO2 reduction if more trips and deliveries are made by e-bikes. Plus less sweat, help on hills and longer trips. Can we ease people into cycling if exertion is a barrier to switching modes for some trips? All this has implications for planning (parking, storage). Increased use will drive policy.
• The sheer number of bicycle parking companies in the exhibit hall indicate that bicycle parking is the next big thing.
• Velo-city 2013 is June 11-14 in Vienna; the theme is The Sound of Cycling: Urban Cycling Cultures. If I save every $10 bill for a year, I may be able to go!
Spotlight on: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways - Creating Healthy Streets for All Seattle Residents
By Jessica Roberts and Luke Lamon, Alta Planning + Design | Based on an interview with Eli Goldberg and Cathy Tuttle, co-founders of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
What do you think is special about Seattle Neighborhood Greenways?
Neighborhood greenways are exciting because they substitute what our culture sees as a niche concern (enabling safer bicycling on city streets) with a much bigger concern of many American cities: adapting residential communities to be healthier, more livable places that offer comfortable mobility to everyone, across all life stages.
By committing to this broader goal, we have built a much broader and more powerful organizing coalition than we typically see with traditional bike advocacy. If you look at our leadership, you'll see lots of middle-aged moms. We even get support from neighbors who hate bicycling--they still need to walk!
Seattle has added its own twist to greenways by crowdsourcing our route network plan to neighborhood groups. These community-driven routes will form the basis of our new Bike Master Plan's greenway network. This neighborhood crowdsourcing has empowered hundreds of people to get involved in the livability of their own neighborhoods, often for the first time.
Click here to read the rest of the article on the website.
Photo courtesy Eli Goldberg, SeattleGreenways.org
> We heartily congratulate long-time APBP members Randy Neufeld, who received the prestigious Cycling Leadership Award from the Danish Cycling Embassy at Velo-city 2012 last month, recognizing his work in cycling advocacy. Announcing the award, the Embassy said: "This year the award goes to a man who has a hands on approach to cycling and he has inspired people… He has gone from an activist to an extremely influential figure promoting cycling policies.” Randy Neufeld is the Director of SRAM Cycling Fund, based in Chicago, Illinois. He is a great leader, strategist and fine fellow. Congratulations Randy! And thank you for your leadership as President of America Bikes. Read more here.
> Registration opens July 23 for the National Women's Bicycling Summit on September 13, a half-day event held at the close of PWBP. The summit, an outgrowth of APBP's Women Cycling Project that began in 2010, is jointly sponsored by APBP and the League of American Bicyclists. The initiative aims to increase women's participation and leadership in cycling through events, programming and networking. Tickets are $30 and include admission to the Cycle Chic Fashion Show. Details here. You can also follow @WomenBike.
> The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation has launched a new website, the Complete Streets for Canada Policy and Design Hub. According to announcement on July 5, the site "will act as the 'go to' for information on the growing Complete Streets movement in Canada, with a particular initial focus on Ontario communities. The website provides case studies, policy expertise, news, and the latest research, including TCAT's recently completed Complete Streets Gap Analysis report and Complete Streets by Design resource. The goal of the website is to facilitate implementation of Complete Streets and increase awareness, knowledge, and community involvement in building Complete Streets across Canada.” http://completestreetsforcanada.ca/
Opportunities and Deadlines
>July 12: Deadline to register for ProWalk/ProBike at the Early Summer Rate (APBP members get a very generous discount). https://center.uoregon.edu/conferences/NCBW/2012/registration/
> July 31: Deadline to decide that you're going to run for the APBP Board of Directors this fall. Four seats are open on the 2013 Board of Directors—why don't you throw your hat in the ring? Three of the four seats will be newly elected, so this is truly the right time to run! Board members elected this year will serve a 3-year term beginning January 1, 2013. APBP's membership is growing, along with our programs. Help your association prosper! The deadline to submit a 400-word statement of interest is July 31. Read more here
> September 1: Deadline to submit papers for 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium (April 14-17, 2013 in Arizona). More information here: http://www.americantrails.org/2013/
Please note: The APBP and NACTO webinar, "2nd edition: NACTO's Urban Bikeway Design Guide” originally scheduled for July 11 has been rescheduled for September 5, 3:00 to 4:30 pm EDT; free; register here.
July 18: APBP webinar, "The Greener Side of Green Streets” 3:00 - 4:00 pm EDT; $50 for members, $75 for non-members; CM credit and PDH provided; register here.
July 17: CAN webinar, "Making Tough Choices Easier: How To Prioritize Pedestrian Infrastructure Needs.” 1:00 pm EDT; free; register here
July 24: APBP webinar, "TRB for Bike/Ped Professionals: Understanding and Engaging the Transportation Research Board.” 3:00 - 4:00 pm EDT; free; register here.
July 24: PBIC and APHA webinar, "Using Health Impact Assessments to Connect Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety and Health." 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. EDT; free; register here.
July 30: CAN webinar, "SRTS Middle School Curriculum: Why it is Important and How to Make an Impact.” 1:00 pm EDT; free; register here
August 20-24: Comprehensive Bicycle Planning & Design, Portland State University. This course covers the fundamentals of bicycle planning and design through an intensive week of interactive classroom and field experience. $995/person; group discounts available. More information and registration.
> NHTSA has just released the 2010 Traffic Safety Facts for bicyclists. Download the PDF here. No word yet on when the 2009 pedestrian fact sheet will be updated. You can find a complete list of available fact sheets here.
> Check out this recent FHWA publication: Bicycle Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists. The 2007 pedestrian version is here.
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Thanks to all who contributed, knowingly or unwittingly, to this bulletin: Paula Bawer, Joe Fish, Kit Keller, Mark Plotz, Eloisa Raynault, Jessica Roberts, Jim Sayer, Sara Walfoort, Ryan Whitney.