"There is no question that conditions for bicycling and walking need to be improved in every community in the United States."
"Every transportation agency has the responsibility and the opportunity to make a difference to the bicycle-friendliness and walkability of our communities."
"Public support and advocacy for improved conditions for bicycling and walking has created a widespread acceptance that more should be done to enhance the safety, comfort, and convenience of the nonmotorized traveler."
These clear statements of support of better active transportation infrastructure come from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT)'s own guidance on accommodating bicycle and pedestrian travel.
Unfortunately, it appears that message isn't making it down to many of the officials and planners actually designing our transportation system.
The Association of American State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) yesterday released its list of the nation's "Top 10 Transportation Projects." Incredibly, the list did not include a single project specifically geared to promoting non-motorized transportation, or even public transit.
The Max Brewer Bridge replacement project in Florida comes closest to serving those many millions of Americans eager to embrace active transportation as a better way to get around; it does include a bike and pedestrian pathway. (This was not, however, listed by AASHTO in their description of the project's successes.)
This, despite AASHTO's own findings last year that active transportation infrastructure projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allocation generated more jobs per dollar than any other form of transportation construction (road construction and repair where among the least efficient job creators), and USDOT's admission that biking and walking is a crucial part of our transportation future that deserves more attention.
AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley said these projects were remarkable for their "innovation and discipline." Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and our peers in the new Partnership for Active Transportation, will be working hard in the coming decades to enlighten this restricted understanding of what the term 'transportation' actually means to millions of Americans.