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.

APCSC Advocates No Helmet Law

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently submitted the first report on bicycle safety since 1972. The report recommends important ways to make bicycling safer, including improving infrastructure such as protected lanes, but at the last minute they added a suggestion of a mandatory helmet law.  (Read about the report.) 

Advocacy groups all over the US including The League Of American Bicyclists are against mandating helmets, citing stats that requiring helmets by law could lead to discriminatory enforcement, reduce bike ridership, and possibly increase bicycle fatalities.

And this: More on bike helmets: Very well put by @ianwalker

APCSC believes that the best way to protect people riding bikes is protected bike lanes, slower speed limits, addressing driver distractions, reducing the number of cars on the road, and more people riding bikes.  We agree with The League Of American Bicyclists that requiring helmets may reduce bike ridership, and enforcement may be discriminatory.  Asbury Park is continuing work to make streets safer for people riding bikes (and walking), and providing ways for people to get around without driving. #toomanycars #slowthecars

LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS STATEMENT ON NTSB DECISION TO ENDORSE MANDATORY HELMET LAWS:

“[W]e are disappointed by the NTSB decision to endorse mandatory helmet laws for all people who bike. The League believes that the safety of people who bike will be best advanced through coordinated improvements to streets and cars, which kill more than 90% of people who die while biking, rather than laws that may be enforced in discretionary and discriminatory ways,” the group said in a statement.

Read more…

https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/ntsb-recommends-mandatory-helmet-laws-protected-bike-lanes/566675/