It's time to speak up for bicycling and walking—the best bargain in transportation. If you're working in the field, your efforts today will pay off tomorrow. Begin to build a relationship with your member of Congress with a simple phone call, e-mail or letter telling what you do and why. Attend one of U.S. House of Representatives' Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's field hearings and public forums this month in Beckley or Charleston, W.Va.; the Philadelphia Metropolitan area; Scranton, Pa.; Rochester, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; the Chicago Metropolitan area; Vancouver, Wash.; Fresno, Calif.; Los Angeles; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Jonesboro, Ark.; and the Memphis Metropolitan area. For more info, visit http://tinyurl.com/4e4pq6p
Meet with key members of the House of Representatives in their home districts on your own or as part of America Bikes' "March Forth” campaign (the most recent SAFETEA-LU extension expires March 4th). (APBP recently assisted this effort by lending the technology platform for two training webinars for the volunteers who will meet with nearly 100 policymakers.) If funding for walking and cycling is directly threatened, you will receive an action alert. Prepare now by gathering examples of successful projects in your community. Join the APBP Policies and Legislation group led by APBP Board member Craig Williams (Alta Planning + Design) to do even more to help maintain dedicated funding for bicycling and walking programs such as Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School.
Just in time to help make the case is a new report about the return on investment, in terms of fuel savings and reduced health care costs, of Portland's bikeways. Thomas Gotschi, the paper's author, writes, "This paper provides the first cost-benefit analysis for an urban bicycling network in the US. The analysis is made possible not only by almost 20 years of investments and growth in bicycling, but also by the availability of long term data unique for a US city which document the impacts of investments.” The paper concludes that bicycling investments are "cost-effective, even when only a limited selection of benefits is considered.” Gotschi, an APBP member, is a researcher with the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. (Read the report published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health: http://tinyurl.com/4qt4mxj)This report's conclusions, when coupled with the results of the recent case study estimating the employment impacts of various transportation infrastructure projects in the City of Baltimore (http://tinyurl.com/6j7ptes), deliver a respectable one-two punch in support of active transportation investments.
Consider attending the National Bike Summit (March 8-10, 2011) where speakers including U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, James Oberstar, and NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn will energize and inspire you to keep on making the case, again and again.