Good News for Ojai: Feds Deem Pedestrians, Cyclists and Motorists Equals

Thanks to Ojai bicycle/pedestrian advocate and OVGC Transportation Comittee member John van Houten, M.D., for calling my attention to this article.

This is the best news for making Ojai a model bicycle/pedestrian friendly city that I've seen in years. It will help us move forward in implementing the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan that the City of Ojai adopted over ten years ago.

Here are some excerpts-- a link to the entire article appears at the end.

Feds Deem Pedestrians, Cyclists and Motorists Equals

At long last, the feds have said the needs of pedestrians and cyclists must be placed alongside, not behind, those of motorists.

In what amounts to a sea change for the Department of Transportation, the automobile will no longer be the prime consideration in federal transportation planning. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the needs of pedestrians and cyclists will be considered along with those of motorists, and he makes it clear that walking and riding are “an important component for livable communities.”

“People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning,” LaHood wrote on his blog. “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

He goes on:

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

LaHood’s announcement came on the heels of his appearance at the National Bike Summit, where he was greeted like a rock star and told the crowd, “Our mission is the same as your mission,” and “I think we’re beginning to put our money where our mouth is on these issues.”

And how!

What his policy statement effectively says is multimodal transportation (meaning pedestrians and cyclists) will be an “equal” part of all new infrastructure projects getting funding from Washington.

Walking and bicycling foster safer, more livable, family-friendly communities; promote physical activity and health; and reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use,” reads the introduction to the policy statement. “Legislation and regulations exist that require inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian policies and projects into transportation plans and project development. Accordingly, transportation agencies should plan, fund, and implement improvements to their walking and bicycling networks, including linkages to transit.”

“This is an issue that has been ignored far too long, even as thousands have died or been injured unnecessarily just by doing something as simple as trying to cross the street,” James Corless, director of Transportation for America, said in the T4A blog. “We thank Secretary Lahood for his leadership at DOT and for elevating this urgent issue to the level of prominence that it deserves.”

To view the entire article/photographs click here:
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/03/lahood-policy-statement/

Related Links (cross-posted on the OjaiPost)
It's About the Bike: A Doctor's Prescription for a Healthy, Wealthy and Green Ojai
Guest Editorial by John van Houten, M.D.
http://www.ojaipost.com/2009/09/_its_about_the_bike_a_doctors.shtml

Link to this quote: "People across America who value bicycling should have a voice"
http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/03/my-view-from-atop-the-table-at-the-national-bike-summit.html

Ojai Valley Green Coalition Transportation articles
http://www.ojaivalleygreencoalition.org/action-committees/transportation/

Note: The Ojai Valley Green Coalition Transportation Committee meets the first Wednesday of the month at Pappa Lennons (outside court yard area) 515 W El Roblar, across the street from the Project Ride bike shop. Our next meeting date is April 7 at 4:00 pm. If you cannot make it to the meeting but would like to join the OVGC Transportation Committee please e-mail Sfrancina@aol.com

Posted by Suza Francina, Chair, Ojai Valley Green Coalition Transportation Committee

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