Year In Review 2021 Part Two

And Now For Some Good News

Sharing the news collected and reported by our friends at StreetsblogUSA about reducing dependence on cars and improving conditions for walking, biking, and transit.

Let’s take a look at some of this year’s best news — and start thinking about how to build on it in 2022.

Advocates found big silver linings in a flawed bill

Those bright spots included new dollars for transit station accessibility, electric school buses, and road diets, as well as a 60-percent boost for the largest federal program aimed at building safe walking and biking infrastructure. A slate of new policies became law, too, like one that will force most urbanized states to spend more money on saving vulnerable road users lives, and a new requirement that automakers test how likely their vehicles are to kill a vulnerable road user in a crash and make those stats known to prospective buyers.

New US DOT leadership wrote some great grants

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been the subject of intense scrutiny among sustainable transportation advocates since he was confirmed to the top spot at US DOT in January, some of whom who questioned his mobility resume and commitment to radically reimagining the role of safety for communities of color in the street realm. But in the months sense, many have been pretty happy with how the former mayor’s team has wielded their limited discretionary power so far – and optimistic about how he’ll allocate the billions of new grant dollars that will fall under their sole purview in 2022 and beyond.

Feds promised a potential sea-change on safety

The other good news out the Buttigieg administration followed some of 2021’s worst news: that road traffic deaths were on track to reach their highest level in over a decade.

To its immense credit, US DOT responded to that news by immediately promising a new “National Road Safety Strategy,” which the agency said would be “rooted in the Safe System approach” that’s been embraced by the countries around the handful of countries world that have made the most progress towards Vision Zero.

The Covid-19 bike boom kept booming

The uncertainty of 2020 may have effectively scared many erstwhile transit commuters onto two-wheeled transportation — or at least scared them out of gyms and onto outdoor rides. But even after mass transportation was largely proved safe and gyms started re-opening their doors, many Americans stayed in the saddle, and advocates are hopeful that cities will start building infrastructure to serve that sustained surge in riders.

Big state and local wins

In sustainable transportation, some of the most seismic victories seem pretty small at first — and 2021 was full of significant local wins that could set an example for cities across America.

Happy New Year To All From Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition!

 

The Infrastructure Bill: A Dinosaur Of A Federal Transportation Program

For those applauding the passage of the Infrastructure Bill…

Step one for repairing a problem: Stop making it worse

  • The refrain “roads and bridges” – there is no provision to repair anything before building new and bigger roads adding to environmental disaster.
  • Money for transit, but billions to promote more driving will undermine it as long as we keep building new roads and prioritizing driving as an unalienable American right.
  • The US has a horrible history of  building highways bisecting and destroying already poor neighborhoods, yet the practice continues with Louisiana’s current $750 million plan to bulldoze a Black neighborhood in Shreveport.
  • Subsidizing oil and gas industries keeps fueling cars and the construction of new roads, continuing the destruction of the environment.
  • President Biden’s pledges to cut emissions, pointing at the transportation sector.  But “Beth Osborne [and T4America]… accused Congress of ‘doubling down on a dinosaur of a federal transportation program’ that she said has produced a dangerous, inequitable and unsustainable transportation network.” – Airline, automotive, oil, gas and all related industries like asphalt etc. are all responsible for the climate disaster.

“With the infrastructure deal completed, the Build Back Better budget reconciliation act is still awaiting action. That package does include some important provisions for improving access to transit, grants for reducing emissions, and more. But it’s tough to swallow knowing that the infrastructure deal is likely to make many of these same issues worse, something we wrote about last week:

“We are encouraged to know that Congress is taking seriously the need to address climate change, equity, and economic recovery. But the $40 billion included here unfortunately won’t be enough to redeem the $645 billion-plus infrastructure bill that will continue to make many of those same problems worse. As we’ve said throughout the second half of this year, the administration has a difficult task ahead to advance their stated goals of repair, safety, climate, equity, and access to jobs and services through these small improvements, while spending historic amounts on unchanged programs that have historically made those issues worse.”

Read more…

Cities Must Become Car-Free To Survive

The auto industry has co-opted our brains with snazzy advertising, unrealistic settings where drivers own the road, selling us cars with the idea that our very identity is tied to the vehicle we drive. In this car-dominated culture people defend their entitlement to drive even when the lives of vulnerable road users are at stake. Car production now outpaces population growth globally, spewing pollution, and destroying the environment and human health in general.

City streets are car sewers, but residents of cities are incensed about lack of parking, and whether bicycle riders should be permitted on sidewalks, boardwalks, or the street itself.  The small amount of space allowed for bikes (and other micro-mobility) has become the most hotly contested parts of urban infrastructure. One of the greatest successes in automotive brainwashing influence has been the antagonistic relationship of people walking against people riding bikes and scooters, taking the focus off the responsibility of drivers causing over 40 thousand deaths a year in the US alone.

We believe that in American cities, especially small cities like Asbury Park we can gradually reduce and eventually eliminate the need for personal vehicles by supporting alternative transportation options like micro-mobility (scooters, bikes, skateboards etc), and transit in the form of jitneys, pedicabs, and busses.

While we continue to build more infrastructure for people to get around without cars, we need to create more live-able spaces for people to safely gather, to play, to do business, and to move about the city.

#toomanycars #walkablecity #bikeablecity #placesforpeople

CITIES ‘MUST BECOME CAR-FREE TO SURVIVE’

JUNE 23, 2021

The researchers said future  planning must include a focus on reducing dependence on cars, promoting fewer and shorter trips and encouraging walking and cycling as primary modes of local transport. Public transport should be encouraged for longer journeys, the researchers argued, and cars should only be used for emergencies or special occasions.

Lead author Dr. Rafael Prieto Curiel commented: “The city of the future, with millions of people, cannot be constructed around cars and their expensive infrastructure. In a few decades, we will have cities with 40 or 50 million inhabitants, and these could resemble car parks with 40 or 50 million cars. The idea that we need cars comes from a very pollutant industry and very expensive marketing.”

 

APCSC Signed Letter: “America’s Transportation System Is In Crisis”

APCSC is proud to be a signatory on the letter sent to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer:  “We write because America’s transportation system is in a crisis…”

“The point of transportation is to get people where they need to go, meaning we should prioritize infrastructure and transportation projects that connect people to jobs and services. Since the dawn of the modern highway era, we have used vehicle speed as a poor proxy for access to jobs and important services like healthcare, education, public services, and grocery stores. The way we build roads and design communities to achieve high vehicle speed often requires longer trips and makes shorter walking, bicycling, or transit trips unsafe, unpleasant, or impossible. New data can help to address decades of disinvestment which have disconnected communities and worsened economic outcomes.”

Hundreds tell Congress that we need a new framework for transportation

14 Apr 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to shift the political landscape, 293 elected officials and organizations from 45 states signed Transportation for America’s letter urging Congress to reform the federal transportation program in the upcoming reauthorization. Because rethinking transportation policy matters now more than ever.

 

When Transportation for America first wrote this letter advocating for groundbreaking changes in the upcoming federal transportation reauthorization, COVID-19 had yet to radically alter our everyday lives. But as the effects of the virus grew more and more dire, we’ve realized that establishing a new framework for U.S. transportation policy matters more now than ever.

We’re not alone: 293 elected officials and organizations from 45 states signed this letter, with many signatories joining as the coronavirus accelerated. While focused on reauthorization, adopting the reforms in this letter is necessary for Congress to guarantee that any future COVID-19 stimulus substantially improves American lives—not just pump more money into a broken highway program that fails to create new jobs.

Read more here:

http://t4america.org/2020/04/14/hundreds-tell-congress-that-we-need-a-new-framework-for-transportation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+transportationforamerica+%28Transportation+For+America+%28All%29%29

Polli Schildge, Founding Member
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition
(APCSC)

Getting Around During The COVID19 Outbreak

The outbreak of COVID-19, is one more strike against mass transit with public health agencies urging people to avoid public gatherings, and “social distancing. “It’s still early to know exactly how this will unfold, but without proper mitigation efforts from local governments, we could be feeling the effects of coronavirus on public transportation service for years to come.”

Mass transit has pretty much always had a bad reputation in popular culture – bus and subway riders in film are often depicted as poor and derelict at worst, and just short of miserable at best.

Ride share like Uber and  Lyft has chipped away at transit ridership, flooding streets with more cars, and undermining struggling transit systems. “The legacy of these companies amounts to a warning to the public and policymakers: If you do not provide people with good transportation options, they will take bad ones.”

One way for people to avoid exposure during the outbreak of COVID-19 is to ride bikes, but in some cities like NYC, with “cyclists are reporting huge increases in biking this week” the conditions for bicyclists are not optimal, and the administration isn’t currently planning to focus on better bike infrastructure, as seen in this film: Streetfilms: Biking is the Way to Beat Coronavirus.

As spring approaches in Asbury Park we can get around within this 1.4 mile sq. city on foot, on bikes, and we can utilize other micro-mobility options as they become available.  Supporters of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition can continue to lobby for more and better infrastructure for walking and biking in the city, now and onward.

Tech by VICE

Coronavirus May Have a Lasting Impact on Public Transit Funding

Ridership is likely going to plummet, which will make it harder on local transit agencies

By Aaron Gordon Mar 10 2020
Coronavirus is beginning to upend American life. The stock market is crashing, universities are cancelling classes or moving them onlineconferences are being canceled, and airlines are struggling. Unsurprisingly, public transportation is also going to be greatly impacted. It’s still early to know exactly how this will unfold, but without proper mitigation efforts from local governments, we could be feeling the effects of coronavirus on public transportation service for years to come.

GREEN Streets Act Introduced

In keeping with the GREEN Streets Act, this is Asbury Park’s goal: “…we must make it possible for people to take fewer and shorter car trips, as well as make it easy and convenient for people to bike, walk and use transit.”

Generating Resilient, Environmentally Exceptional National (GREEN) Streets Act introduced in the Senate today

Today Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced a bill that would measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled. This would be transformative.

“Unfortunately, our federal transportation program forces people to drive more by measuring success through vehicle speed—not the time it actually takes people to reach their destination. Building wider highways and sprawling cities to accommodate high-speed driving creates a feedback loop of more driving, virtually guaranteeing ever-increasing transportation emissions (and congestion). “

It’s About A Better City

It’s about a better city, not about riding bikes or walking, or certainly not a “war on cars”.  Many people (or most) who ride bikes and walk also drive a vehicle.  We’re all in this together. Asbury Park is finalizing  the Asbury Park Bike and Walk Master Plan which will create a network for safe walking and bicycling .

“…a few separated routes through a large, still car-dominated city and region don’t create a viable choice in how to get around for people aged 8-80. For people of both genders and all ages to choose a mode of movement a system or network is needed – complete, connected, efficient, predictable, and safe in both perception and reality.”

It’s Not About The Bike Or Car —It’s About Better Cities

“I don’t consider myself a ‘cyclist.’ Calling myself that would seem as odd as calling myself a walker, a transit-rider, or a driver. I’m someone who loves living in cities, who has studied how cities work all of my adult life. Really, I’m a citizen.”

Read more…

http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/10/08/its-not-about-the-bike-or-car-its-about-better-cities/