Hoping For Change At US Department Of Transportation, And Locally Too

Highlights from Pete Buttigieg’s Confirmation Hearing

We love hearing Pete using Complete Streets language!

League Of American Bicyclists tweeted “Pete Buttigieg called out “auto-centric” transportation, and notes the importance of street design that enables biking and walking and people to get around in other ways. He says funding should follow. We’ll certainly be following up on that commitment.”

StreetsblogUSA reports Buttigieg  is “introducing the language of safe streets advocacy into the chambers of Congress, where words like “auto-centric”, are rarely used to describe why our road network is so dangerous.”

Kudos for this: Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz: “our departments of transportation tend to be the departments of cars”.

NPR reported He received a “damn refreshing” friendly reception” at the hearing.

We’re feeling hopeful that there may be change on US roads, and our own streets too. We must continue to call for more and better infrastructure to #slowthecars, and demand that the city address the prioritization of cars in street design. #toomanycars

 

1. Buttigieg plans to put dollars behind multi-modal travel 

Secretary Pete’s use of the word “auto-centric” got a lot of love from advocates, and for good reason; it’s easily the most apt adjective to define the last century of U.S. transportation planning, which has typically privileged the fast movement of cars above all else.

2. A not-so-subtle nod to Vision Zero 

As a presidential candidate, Buttigieg famously proposed a national commitment to end traffic violence deaths in the U.S.

3. Complete Streets gets a shout-out

The surprise breakout star of Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing may have been Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, who gained some fans in the safe streets crowd when he asked the nominee whether he would “clarify that the objective [is to] not to always think in terms of widening the aperture through which the maximum number of cars can move at the maximum speed.” (He also lamented that “our departments of transportation tend to be the departments of cars” — a slogan which belongs on a coffee mug, stat.) Buttigieg’s response earned him some high-fives on Twitter, too:

When we were undertaking a Complete Streets approach in the city of South Bend, it meant a lot to us to have moral support from folks in the [U.S.] DOT under Secretary [Anthony] Foxx, who agreed with that vision. I think it’s very important that we recognize the importance of roadways where pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles in any other mode can coexist peacefully. That Complete Streets vision will continue to enjoy support from me, if confirmed.

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