You may have already heard that a new federal transportation bill was adopted. We wish we could celebrate, but unfortunately, we have another battle to fight to make bicycling, walking, and public transit a national priority. Despite people who walk and bike making up nearly 12% of trips and 14% of roadway fatalities, less than 2% of federal transportation dollars is spent on biking and walking improvements.
So what did we lose?
-any dedicated funding for roads and bridge repairs
-significant portion of dedicated funding for walking and biking
-emergency provisions to preserve existing transit service
-provision that made commuting by public transit and parking equally tax deductible
What did we win?
-The Cardin-Cochran provision, which provides grants to local communities to improve biking and walking accommodations.
-a new small grant program that will help community-planning for neighborhood revitalization around transit stops
What's happening here in MA?
On the same day the federal bill was passed, Governor Patrick signed a bill to provide short-term funding for the MBTA and RTAs across the state. These critical funds prevented additional service cuts and fare increases for this fiscal year.
Even though neither of these bills gives us a whole lot to celebrate, they both moved transportation to the forefront of people's conversations. People in MA and across the country have spoken up over the last year about their want and need for affordable, accessible transportation options. Thank you for writing and calling your State Representatives and Legislatures, and thank you to Bikes Belong, America Bikes, League of American Bicyclists, Alliance for Biking & Walking for your work on Capitol Hill, and Transportation for Massachusetts for your work on Beacon Hill.
Since Patrick's bill is a one year band-aid, and the Federal Transportation Bill is only 27 months long, the fight began yesterday to make walking, biking and transit the priority of the next bills. Now more than ever, we need public support from people like you. Take the next step by becoming a member - the more members the stronger our collective voice.
Come celebrate summer at the new BSA Space with LivableStreets, Firefly Bicycles, and the Boston Society of Architects. Meet fellow members, make new connections, and enjoy snacks and drinks, while checking out the exhibit everyone is raving about - Let's Talk About Bikes.
Charlie Denison, Advocacy Committee Chair, is now blogging for Somerville Patch
"Our physical environment, culture, and enforcement policies all play a large role in how people behave. Only when we make concerted efforts to treat pedestrians fairly and as equal users of our streets as everyone else will their behavior improve in a big way..." Read the full post here: Why We Jaywalk (and What We Can Do About It)