I try not to say too much about our current Federal administration, even though much of what they are doing scares me. (Yes, this is restraint. Believe me.) So when they say something I actually like, it's fun to be able to acknowledge it. (HT Margaret Gorodetzer via Facebook, and Joan Lowy/the Huffington Post.)
With the caveat that I haven't investigated the story at all, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is my current hero for his recognition that walking, biking, and public transit are important ways of getting from one place to another in daily life, not just recreation or the last refuge of losers who have lost their drivers' licenses Talk is not action, but it's a beginning.
LaHood says the government is going to give bicycling – and walking, too – the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the "sea change" in transportation policy last month. "This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," he wrote in his government blog.
LaHood's blog was accompanied by a [Department of Transportation] policy statement urging states and transportation agencies to treat "walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes." It recommends, among other things, including biking and walking lanes on bridges and clearing snow from bike paths.
The new policy is an extension of the Obama administration's livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving – buses, streetcars, trolleys and trains, as well as biking and walking – as central to solving the nation's transportation woes.
Alas, this is just a recommendation, but it's an attitude that needs supporting. A sane transportation policy is long overdue that sees beyond "more roads and bigger."