Cars, Cyclists, and Pedestrians are All Equal According To DOT
Though it may be hard for us to imagine, there was a time not that long ago when if you needed to go somewhere, you walked. If you were lucky, you rode a horse. When the bicycle came around in the 1890’s, it was a revolution for personal mobility. But when the car came along, the party was over as cyclists and pedestrians alike were shuffled aside as the car took over all consideration for transportation.
In a dramatic overturn of previous policy, the Department of Transportation has declared that the needs of walkers, cyclists, and cars are all equal. So will we see more integrated biking lanes and facilities as well as a push towards more walkable communities?
The policy will encourage individual states to launch transportation projects that take into consideration more than just the needs of drivers. Even though I love driving, I think this is incredibly important. I hate crosswalks, which are often added as an afterthought. Better road planning and raised bridges can alleviate a lot of the congestion associated with crosswalks. Bike lanes and laws protecting bikers can encourage people to forgo the five-minute commute, and hop on their bike instead. Bikes might even get their own roads or trails, as they do in some parts of Connecticut (mostly old converted railways).
These projects will not replace funding for traditional highways, but the Feds are going to encourage states to come up with their own ideas. Biking and walking is obviously more healthy than driving a car, and maybe it could even replace short term commutes in many places. I love my cars, but I have nothing against a good walk or bike ride. Plus it gets more drivers off of the road, and out of my way!