Bicycling and walking are often called ‘alternative transportation’ modes. In fact, they are often our primary ways of moving from place to place; all of us learned to walk and many of us learned to ride a bicycle long before we slid into the driver’s seat of a car. Sadly, for more than 60 years, we’ve focused our collective attention – and most of our funding – on the automobile, relegating the less expensive and healthier modes of walking and bicycling to ‘alternative’ status, only as important as the latest fad in fashion or lifestyle.
In addition to defining bike and pedestrian activities as alternative transportation, funding to these programs has been threatened in recent Transportation legislation from House Republicans. While these efforts have been repeatedly beaten back, the threat remains: the most efficient form of urban transportation ever invented is in danger of being marginalized and dismissed at the federal level.
Congressman Blumenauer, in conjunction with Congressman Petri of Wisconsin, has authored an amendment to restore dedicated funding for biking and walking, streamline the federal programs, and ensure that local governments can access the funding for these popular projects.
Backing up Congressman Blumenauer’s work on the Hill and with the Congressional Bike Caucus, a network of dedicated policy thinkers, local officials, and activists across the country are demanding that cycling is given the recognition it deserves. Armed with collections of statistics and success stories, they descended on Capitol Hill last week as part of the 13th Annual Bike Summit. Some of the information they had on hand: