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Secretary Peters Says Bikes “Are Not Transportation”

from Streetsblog.org

 

We'd expect this kind of thing from some people, but on PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" this week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters said that instead of raising taxes on gasoline to renew the nation's sagging infrastructure, Congress should examine its spending priorities -- including investments in bike paths and trails, which, Peters said, "are not transportation."

 

Some excerpts:

 

"You know, I think Americans would be shocked to learn that only about 60 percent of the gas tax money that they pay today actually goes into highway and bridge construction. Much of it goes in many, many other areas."

 

"There are museums that are being built with that money, bike paths, trails, repairing lighthouses. Those are some of the kind of things that that money is being spent on, as opposed to our infrastructure."

 

"Well, there's about probably some 10 percent to 20 percent of the current spending that is going to projects that really are not transportation, directly transportation-related. Some of that money is being spent on things, as I said earlier, like bike paths or trails."

 

http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/17/secretary-peters-says-bikes-are-not-transportation/

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Secretary Peters Says Bikes “Are Not Transportation”

from Streetsblog.org

 

We'd expect this kind of thing from some people, but on PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" this week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters said that instead of raising taxes on gasoline to renew the nation's sagging infrastructure, Congress should examine its spending priorities -- including investments in bike paths and trails, which, Peters said, "are not transportation."

 

Some excerpts:

 

"You know, I think Americans would be shocked to learn that only about 60 percent of the gas tax money that they pay today actually goes into highway and bridge construction. Much of it goes in many, many other areas."

 

"There are museums that are being built with that money, bike paths, trails, repairing lighthouses. Those are some of the kind of things that that money is being spent on, as opposed to our infrastructure."

 

"Well, there's about probably some 10 percent to 20 percent of the current spending that is going to projects that really are not transportation, directly transportation-related. Some of that money is being spent on things, as I said earlier, like bike paths or trails."

 

http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/17/secretary-peters-says-bikes-are-not-transportation/

 

damn, noozer, you beat me to it... this woman's a moron of the highest degree if she thinks that's the case... RTA's bike rack usage statistics can readily point out the fallacy in her thinking

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damn, noozer, you beat me to it... this woman's a moron of the highest degree if she thinks that's the case... RTA's bike rack usage statistics can readily point out the fallacy in her thinking

Doesn't that actually prove her point ?

I don't want to defend this lady but, from a federal/interstate POV, bicycles kinda aren't viable transportation.

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This is just anecdotal, but when the Columbus area first started seeing an influx of Latin American immigrants, mostly from Mexico & Central America, the first thing I noticed was how many of them traveled from their homes to their jobs .... by bike.  It was a cheap, resourceful mode of transportation for them as they were starting a new life here in the U.S. 

 

Dear Secretary Peters: how is that NOT a mode of transportation?

 

I ride the Olentangy Bike Trail almost every morning for exercise and I see numerous people riding toward OSU and downtown with saddlebags and backpacks.  Does Madame Secretary think they somehow don't count as in need of transportation amenities?

 

Columbus too has bike racks on COTA buses and they are well used. How does using one mode of transport as a "bridge" between Point A and Point B somehow make the bike less of a mode?

 

This is just another way that the Bush Administration muddies the waters so it doesn't have to spend $$$$ on domestic needs that can help us become more mobile and less dependent on someone else's oil.

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I don't want to defend this lady but, from a federal/interstate POV, bicycles kinda aren't viable transportation.

 

Even if the federal government strictly adhered to the federal/interstate POV, which it doesn't, we should still encourage competition and alternatives in the transportation matrix, including bike trails. 

 

Traveling by airplane wouldn't be "viable" for most people if the federal government didn't subsidize the heck out of it.

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Part of the concept of rail trails is "rail-banking," reserving abandoned/inactive rights of way in case they're needed again in the future for restoration of rail service. That ties in with long-term transportation strategy.

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Further evidence of the faulty estimation of bicycles by USDOT Secretary Peters. As the article below illustrates, bicycles aren't just for the "spandex crowd" anymore.

 

Bikes: We like fun, but we really like functional

Portland's personality as a biking city evolves from recreation and fitness toward transportation for the average Joe and Jane

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

STEVE WOODWARD

The Oregonian

 

Emily Gardner, a car-driving native of Detroit, Mich., grew up a self-proclaimed couch potato. She spent time snacking and watching MTV. She didn't ride a bike, much less commute on one.

 

Full story: http://www.oregonlive.com/living/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/living/1187706313314690.xml&coll=7

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^Nothing, if you're the guitar player for Ratt.

 

Note that Portland's bicycle amenities, such as dedicated bike lanes, play such an important role in expanding the bicycle's role beyond just an enthusiast's sport.

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Goal is to get students walking, bicycling

State of Wisconsin using $4 million to help kids reach school safely, under own steam

By TOM HELD

theld@journalsentinel.com

Posted: Aug. 31, 2007

 

As children make their way back to classrooms, schools and municipalities in Wisconsin will start spending $4 million in federal transportation grants to encourage and help more of them make that trek by foot or bicycle.

 

Full story: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=655505

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The City of Columbus will be a holding a public meeting September 26, 2007 to discuss the ongoing Bicentennial Bikeways Planning efforts.

 

The study will include an assessment of current conditions and identify potential improvements for implementation. The public meeting will be interactive, providing an opportunity to hear background information on the study, review data collected on existing conditions, and offer the public an opportunity to provide input and comments.

 

The public meeting is scheduled as follows:

        Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

        Time: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Cyclist “Happy Hour” 4-5 p.m.

        Place: The Pavilion at North Bank Park Directions

 

Please join us! For more information, please visit the project web site http://www.altaplanning.com/columbus/

 

The current project newsletter is available by clicking the following link.

It is designed to be able to print and post for review and notice by interested groups.

http://www.altaplanning.com/columbus/ColumbusNewsletterSummer07.pdf

 

Parking for this event has been arranged after 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Atlas Blueprint located at 374 W. Spring Street at the corner of Spring & Hanover Streets.

 

We look forward to you insight and valuable input on this important transportation project.  Please feel to share this information with your employer or other interested parties.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 645 - 7488 or email me at srtweed@columbus.gov.

 

Steve Tweed

Project Manager

 

City of Columbus

Public Service Department

Transportation Division

Planning & Programming

645-7488

srtweed@columbus.gov

 

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Civic Innovations Lab Newsletter:

 

 

Lab grants $30,000 to indoor bike park

 

Newest Lab "Champion" Ray Petro had a business plan for his indoor biking park --  in his head and scrawled on random pieces of paper inside a crammed file drawer.

 

"I guess I just didn't fully understand what it was," Petro said of a well-written business plan. With assistance from his Civic Innovation Lab mentor, Bernie Moreno, president of Mercedes/Porsch of North  Olmsted, Petro and a friend put pen to paper.

 

The result: A document Petro plans to enlarge and post "so I'm forced to walk by it everyday."

 

This issue of Lab Link examines the elements of strong business plans. You'll also hear more from Petro, whose new plan dictates big things for his business.

 

For three years mountain biker Ray Petro relied solely on word of mouth to lure patrons to his biking "park," 88,000 square feet of challenging, man-made trails inside a warehouse on Cleveland's west side.

 

It was a calculated move. Petro (pictured at left) sought experienced mountain bikers, not teens looking for dangerous thrills or families looking for theme-park diversions. Serious bikers expect to be injured sometimes and would be less likely to sue, Petro reasoned.

 

Nowadays he still aims for serious bikers, though he recognizes that those bikers may enjoy a mix of trail types. Armed with a good waiver form that all park visitors sign, Petro hopes to broaden the park's appeal. He will use $30,000 from Civic Innovation Lab to write a business plan, build infrastructure at his business and create a marketing strategy.

 

"I built things in here the first year that I thought would be OK for the average biker," said Petro, a builder by trade. "It turns out that maybe I was an above-average rider.

 

"Now our total focus is the weekend rider; if we build one thing for an expert, we build nine for beginners."

 

That wide net has transformed Ray's MTB Indoor Park into a local, regional and national draw. The park's Web site, www.raysMTB.com, boasts a special package deal for out-of-towners who stay at a local Holiday Inn; park visitors filled more than 500 rooms last year. Meanwhile Petro has been contacted by entrepreneurs in New Jersey and Minneapolis who hope to replicate his concept.

 

Petro now employs three different race teams who promote the park on weekends, performing stunts under tents with the park's logo. He's preparing to mail 2,100 posters to potential customers, mountain-biking magazines and bike shops "from the Tennessee border all the way to Maine."

 

Jennifer Thomas, director of Civic Innovation Lab, views Ray's MTB Indoor Park as a potential economic driver -- an adventure sports venue with the ability to lure visitors to Cleveland during the unlikeliest time: winter. Ray's is open five months a year, when cold and snow hinder outdoor biking.

 

"Mountain bikers tend to be passionate about the sport," Thomas said.

 

"Our mentors feel that Ray's park is a great fit for the Lab; he rehabilitated an empty warehouse, and he has built a new industry -- adventure sports -- as an economic driver for Cleveland. '"

 

Petro's friend and paid business advisor, Mindy Knuth, recently completed a business plan, Petro's first.

 

"I feel now like I have a handle on it, rather than it having a handle on me," he said. "We know what riders like. We have set rules. We know what nights riders come: what night is good for 16- to 18-year-old riders, what nights adults come. I'm guilty of keeping way too much of this in my head."

 

In addition to the marketing and business plan,  Lab money will pay for an electronic, point-of-sale system to track park visitors' ZIP codes. Petro hopes to use that data to get more dollars from his 45  sponsors, including Moen, Subaru and bike-maker cannondale (which spells its name with a lowercase c).

 

"My sponsors consider it a national attraction," he said. "So far, it's the only one in the world."

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I think Ray's MTB Park is one of the best assets of Greater Cleveland. It's also one of the things that can keep young people here -- no other city in the world has anything like it.

 

If I was 15 years old, I would be there so often that I would have my mail sent there. I'm 40 now and considering getting a bicycle again -- and Ray's is one reason why.


"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."-Voltaire

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Multiple reasons: my own physical and financial health, and maybe even my psychological health knowing I'm doing the right thing for the environment and energy issues.


"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."-Voltaire

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The bicycle thief

Bike activists face an uphill climb against Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, who claims bike paths are not transportation and are stealing tax money from bridges and roads.

 

By Katharine Mieszkowski

 

Sept. 14, 2007 | Imagine you're the federal official in the Bush administration charged with overseeing the nation's transportation infrastructure. A major bridge collapses on an interstate highway during rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring an additional 100. Whom to blame? How about the nation's bicyclists and pedestrians!

 

Full story: http://salon.com/news/feature/2007/09/14/bike_paths/

 

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Pedal pushing

Menino mounting bid to make city a bicyclist's dream

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff  |  September 20, 2007

 

Potholes, narrow roads, mean drivers. ... Riding a bicycle in Boston is something akin to combat. Cyclists routinely rank the city America's worst.

 

Full story: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/09/20/pedal_pushing/?rss_id=Boston+Globe+--+City%2FRegion+News

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Those pedaling to 'Shoe won't have to pay to valet

Saturday,  September 22, 2007 6:43 AM

By Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Fans who pedal to today's Ohio State football game will have a place to park their bikes free.

 

Full story: http://dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/09/22/OSUBIKE.ART_ART_09-22-07_B4_I87VQTT.html?sid=101

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Linking bicycle chains

Cities hoping to transform paths into one vast system

Wednesday,  September 26, 2007 5:39 AM

By Tim Doulin and Martin Rozenman

 

If you're a city official in central Ohio listening to the recreational demands of your residents, you're likely hearing this: "Where's the bike trail?"

 

Full story: http://dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/09/26/BTRAILS.ART_ART_09-26-07_B1_7K810GF.html?sid=101

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Thanks for posting the Dispatch bike trail article, Noozer.  Here's the map of existing and proposed Columbus and Central Ohio bike trails that went along with the story:

 

Ar0130000.gif

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"What's wrong with wearing spandex! It serves a purpose!"

 

It also creates really bad scarring visuals. I'm sorry, but most of the people I've seen wearing spandex... well, you would think if they spend all that time cycling, they wouldn't have spindly little stick legs and potbellies, right? It's like sticking two toothpicks in a small potato and stretching fabric over the whole thing - NOT pretty!

 

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"What's wrong with wearing spandex! It serves a purpose!"

 

It also creates really bad scarring visuals. I'm sorry, but most of the people I've seen wearing spandex... well, you would think if they spend all that time cycling, they wouldn't have spindly little stick legs and potbellies, right? It's like sticking two toothpicks in a small potato and stretching fabric over the whole thing - NOT pretty!

 

Ahh, but properly worn by a deserving cyclist, the sight has few equals in splendor. On long group rides, to keep myself motivated I used to pick out a nice view to follow, and work to keep it in sight!  :-D

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"What's wrong with wearing spandex! It serves a purpose!"

 

It also creates really bad scarring visuals. I'm sorry, but most of the people I've seen wearing spandex... well, you would think if they spend all that time cycling, they wouldn't have spindly little stick legs and potbellies, right? It's like sticking two toothpicks in a small potato and stretching fabric over the whole thing - NOT pretty!

 

I love your descriptions :)

 

I was very weary of wearing spandex at first. I finally said "fuck it" and went out and purchased a pair and a jersey. I've never looked back since. It makes all the difference when biking long-distance or when you need a lot of speed. And it even looks great too :)

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Some pix from tonight's Columbus Bikeways Plan meeting at the North Bank Park Pavilion. 

 

A crowd of at least 100 and.... the best news.... at least 25 of them rode their bikes!!

 

The plan was very well received and a number of key leaders were there, including Columbus City Council Members Kevin Boyce and Maryellen O'Shaughnessy.

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Yep. Does Columbus have sanctioned Critical Masses? We got our mayor and vice mayor involved in a few, where we protested the lack of bike lanes by circling around downtown during rush hour. Television crews, newspapers, etc. were out that day. We hold bike summits and bike repair sessions in the downtown that draw greater-than-expected crowds. All this with our _new_ mayor, our former mayor could have given less of a rat's @$$ about biking in general.

 

It may just be politics. It's not cheap to install bike lanes, esp. if they are on roads like High Street, but it is far cheaper than many other alternatives (e.g. expanding bus routes, widening roads, etc.)

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From Dispatch reporter Tim Doulin's The Cranky Commuter blog.  Another report from last Wednesday's Columbus Bikeways Plan public meeting.  Ya gotta love those public meetings!

 

They weren't shouting 'Go, Bucks'

It turned a little ugly at Wednesday night’s public meeting for the Columbus bikeways plan when the subject of the shabby condition of the Ohio State University portion of the Olentangy Trail was brought up.  A man in the audience called out an OSU official who was at the meeting, wanting to know when long-promised improvements to the trail - a favorite of bicyclists and runners alike - would be made. 

 

Read more at http://blog.dispatch.com/commuter/2007/09/they_werent_shouting_go_bucks.shtml

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Car-bike crash study

Danger zones lurk for cyclists

Wednesday,  October 3, 2007 3:48 AM

By Tim Doulin

 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Annie Hollis says she feels safe as she makes the daily trek down N. High Street from her home in the University District to her job Downtown, even though the route is part of a stretch with the highest number of bicycle-vehicle crashes in the city.

 

Full story: http://dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/10/03/BIKECRASH.ART_ART_10-03-07_A1_Q6839G9.html?sid=101

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NYC finally has a progressive Transpo Commissioner!  Just 6 blocks to start, but looks like NYC is going to get its first Euro-style bike lane.  Anyone know if these things exist in other North American cities?

 

NYTimes article: http://www.transalt.org/press/media/2007/1212.html

 

Article from a South African website: http://www.motoring.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4049534&fSectionId=&fSetId=381 (copied below)

 

 

HOW IT WORKS: A bicycle lane in Copenhagen, Denmark, separated from the traffic by a row of parked cars.

Photo: http://www.motoring.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=1828&fPicId=105650

 

Buffered bike lanes for New York

[ See related stories ]

 

September 24, 2007

 

Manhattan, New York - Bicycle riders and drivers are grudging partners on Manhattan's congested streets, dodging and sometimes cursing each other as they share the road, but that could all change soon.

 

 

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A combination of wider streets or bike lanes could go a long way to helping bicyclists and motorists coexist.

 

"It all boils down to room," said Bernice Cage, MORPC transportation planner.

 

"You talk to any cyclist who rides on the streets and they say 'We just need enough room.' "

 

I would think wider streets would be self defeating.  Any extra safety from increasing road width is probably going to be offset by the dangers of faster moving traffic.

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Not to the extent that there would be faster traffic. Bicycle lanes need to be a minimum of four-feet with no obstructions (e.g. drainage slips, non-conforming concrete curb transitions). Traffic lanes need to be at least ten feet, and most state DOTs won't allow bike lanes if the widths are less than eleven feet (twelve feet is optimal).

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Any place with drivers as aggressive as Indiana's, and with as little traffic enforcement, would need physical barriers separating bike lanes from automotive traffic in order to be safe. Painted lines, diamonds and signs mean nothing to drivers who are drunk, crazy, stupid or all three, and we have a lot of them. I was nearly hit by a pickup truck on a downtown sidewalk when the driver decided to bypass stopped traffic because he was going to turn at the next corner anyway. His passenger was laughing his ass off.

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.... I was nearly hit by a pickup truck on a downtown sidewalk when the driver decided to bypass stopped traffic .... His passenger was laughing his ass off.

Yikes!  The same problem exists with people rolling through stop signs or right-turns-on-red without stopping.  The motorist just don't know if there is a pedestrian, a cyclist, or an animal there.  I cannot help but think that the police can be trained to watch out for such things and that motorists cannot be trained to be aware of cyclists.

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This is a network of "touring routes" across the country.  Sounds like fun. 

 

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/10/us-bicycle-rout.html

 

US Bicycle Routes Corridor Draft Plan Under Development

4 October 2007

 

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has been working with Adventure Cycling Association and several other organizations to develop a corridor-level plan for a national US bicycle routes system.

 

Full story: http://www.transportation.org/sites/scoh/docs/SCOH%2007%20-%20USBRS.ppt

 

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Big cities try to ease way for bicyclists

By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

 

Cities are accelerating their efforts to encourage commuting on two wheels, putting bike racks where cars once parked, adding bike lanes and considering European-style bike-share programs to get residents out of their cars.

 

Full story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-07-bicyclists_N.htm

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"I don't think encouraging cycling is going to reduce congestion or significantly change the transportation makeup of our cities," says Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "There really is very little evidence that any of (these efforts) are reducing the amount of driving. They're just making it more annoying to drivers."

 

Wouldn't simple reason dictate that if someone is biking somewhere, they are not driving there?  Well, a simple observer would think that, but not Randy O'Toole!  Oh no!  He uses his vast powers of reasoning and sophisticated planning knowledge to realize that it is quite possible, via quantum physics, for people to both be biking AND driving to work simultaneously until actual data recording locks them into one or the other state!  It's Shrodinger's transportation system!  Why hasn't anyone else thought to combine these disciplines?  Because they are all mushy brained liberals who love trees and hate America, that's why! 

 

And there's the truth, folks, straight from the Cato institute.  Info you can trust.

 

Ahh, such an aptly named fellow. 

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