Washington, D.C., is where laws and funding decisions are made that affect our daily lives. We would be smart to pay attention to news that comes from here.
Photo by Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org. “Gary Fisher telling US DOT Sec. Ray LaHood (and I paraphrase), ‘Look at this turnout… look at all these people here supporting bikes!’ “
Yesterday, Ray LaHood (Secretary of the Department of Transportation), fresh from his “tabletop speech” at the National Bike Summit, announced a big change in federal transportation funding and project selection policy.
The United States DOT says in “Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian AccommodationÂ Regulations and Recommendations” that the recommended actions were created based on already existing law and regulations.
I hope this policy change has the authority of your mom telling you not to eat cookies because she made them for a neighbor – and if you do get a couple, you’ll see the consequences in the form of a wooden spoon.
Why should we be “Collecting data on walking and biking trips”? Well, we might get the wooden spoon if we don’t, but “Communities that routinely collect walking and bicycling data are able to track trends and prioritize investments to ensure the success of new facilities.”
The document does remind readers that the Secretary (or more likely, his designee, a project reviewer) “has the authority to withhold approval for projects that would negatively impact pedestrians and bicyclists under certain circumstances.”