Join the thousands of Americans who voice their opinions to their newspaper every day.
Write a Letter, Make a Difference
The letters to the editor section of a newspaper provides readers an opportunity to communicate—and read others' thoughts on—important issues.
Please take a few minutes and write a letter to the editor of your newspaper on the need for more trails, walking and biking.
Congressional representatives pay special attention to the local paper to see what issues are most important to their constituents. Getting your letter printed can be like having a short, direct conversation with your representative!
Below is a list of talking points to consider using in your letter. If possible, tie your letter to a previous article to increase the likelihood that it will be printed. Walking and biking address so many newsworthy issues, including gas prices, climate change, congestion, public health, environmental quality, quality of life and more, that your chances of getting printed are strong.
Talking points for your letter
Pick one or two to strengthen your case.
- I'd like to be able to walk or bike to get where I'm going, but I don't feel safe doing so. I'd like more infrastructure that makes walking and biking more viable choices.
- By investing in walking and biking facilities over many years, some communities have enabled their residents to walk and bike safely for their transportation needs. In Minneapolis, for example, 28 percent of all trips don't rely on a car.
- No other investment can promise such a great return across several diverse issues: less congestion, climate change, keeping dollars in a community and in residents' pockets in the face of high gas prices, and more exercise to address a growing obesity crisis.
- Trails lead to higher home and business property values along their corridors.
- Building more highway miles has failed to stem the rise in congestion. In urban areas in the United States between 1982 and 2005, the number of hours of vehicle delay rose on average 170 percent, even as the number of highway miles increased by more than 40 percent.
- We need to build facilities for people who want or have to walk and bike to get where they're going safely. In 2001, pedestrians were 23 times more likely to be killed than car occupants; bicyclists were 12 times more likely.
Tips on Writing a Letter-to-the-Editor
- Refer to a Recent Article. If possible, reference a recent article in the newspaper you've selected so your letter adds to an existing conversation.
- Be Clear and Concise. Editors often edit for length, so try to convey your message in fewer than 200 words. (Check with your paper for specific guidelines and limitations.)
- State Your Point Early. State your main point in the subject line and first sentence of the letter.
- Keep your letter focused on only one subject.
- Include Contact Information. Some newspapers will call the author to verify his or her identity and address before printing a letter-to-the-editor.
Please send a copy of your letter to email@example.com. And if your letter is printed, please e-mail a link to the article to the same address above, or mail a copy to:
2121 Ward Ct., NW, 5th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20037