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!

 

SECRETARY PETE BUTTIGIEG ADVOCATES A NATIONAL VISION ZERO, AND DE-PAVING CITIES

As we move into the next phases of adjustment to what a “post-covid” world could be like, we have a great opportunity to make permanent, big changes in our cities to make streets safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable in Asbury Park. We have a car problem, not a parking problem. #toomanycars

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition advocates for the city to adopt a Vision Zero Policy for Asbury Park to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities.

 

Crashes can be prevented by building traffic calming measures that prioritize people walking and riding bikes, like truly protected bike lanes, bulb-outs, and to #slowthecars, mini traffic circles, and other built infrastructure to effectively make it impossible to speed, and unlikely not to see a traffic signal. As long as the design of our streets make it easy to speed, there will be crashes. Let’s keep the conversation going. Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is here to help, advocating for safe, equitable access for everyone, especially the most vulnerable. This is Traffic Calming 101: https://apcompletestreets.org/traffic-calming-101/. Spread the word. Follow and support @asburyparkcompletestreets.

Buttigieg’s Infrastructure Plan Calls for a National Vision Zero

The Democratic candidate’s $1 trillion pledge to upgrade roads, utilities, and public transportation has an emphasis on road safety and climate adaptation.

His commitment to pair massive projects with a $200 billion job retraining program and 6 million new jobs has echoes of the Green New Deal, supported by candidates like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Buttigieg goes further, however, in linking road-building with road safety: As president, he’d commit to a national Vision Zero policy. Sweden, where the traffic safety movement was born in 1997, has made Vision Zero a national priority; other countries like Canada and the Netherlands have followed suit by launching country-wide campaigns and setting out sustainable safety approaches, respectively. In the U.S., however, Vision Zero goals have been set at the state and city level, with varying levels of ambition and success.

Read more:  $1 trillion in investment in roads, utilities, broadband, public transportation, and lead mitigation, while putting more power in the hands of local communities to use funding on their own terms.

Buttigieg Says US DOT Should Support ‘Right-Sizing’ City Asphalt

Decommissioning even a fraction of our estimated two billion parking spots, for instance, could free up critical space for sorely needed affordable housing, parks, in-neighborhood grocery stores, and so much more; some advocates argue that simply ending local mandatory parking minimums so we don’t build any more unnecessary spots would have a seismic effect on American life.

Even thoughtfully removing small bits of asphalt without repurposing that land for other uses can carry benefits, for a simple reason: it reduces demand for car travel, while making streets safer for the vulnerable road users that remain.

READ ABOUT IT>DE-PAVING

Buttigieg says Transportation Department will push ‘bold’ thinking

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris holds a ceremonial swearing-in for Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg as his husband Chasten Buttigieg holds the Bible at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“Today we face an unprecedented health crisis, we’re navigating an economy in danger and our nation is reckoning with the impacts of systemic racism,” he said in the one-minute campaign-style video. “But with new leadership comes a new opportunity, a chance to build our transportation system back better than it ever was before.”

Read about it: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/buttigieg-says-transportation-department-will-push-bold-thinking