House Transportation Bill Would Eliminate Dedicated Bike/Ped Funding

January 31, 2012 in Complete Streets

Congressman John Mica (R-FL) photo: U.S. Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Mica (R-FL) announced the introduction of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act that will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. The League of American Bicyclists has sent out an email asking supporters of bike/ped projects to contact their representatives:

The proposed bill eliminates dedicated funding for bicycling and walking as we feared, and it goes much further and systematically removes bicycling from the Federal transportation program. It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system — a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation. It’s a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.

The bill reverses 20 years of progress by:

  • destroying Transportation Enhancements by making it optional;
  • repealing the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school;
  • allowing states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles;
  • eliminating bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs; and
  • eliminating language that insures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.”

On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will mark-up the bill and Representatives Petri (R-WI) and Johnson (R-IL) will sponsor an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Representatives Petri and Johnson can only be successful if everyone with a stake in safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways contacts their representative today.

 

KRMG Confuses ‘Walkability’ With Trails, Riles Up Listeners

December 9, 2011 in Bicycling, Walking

TULSA – Two tweets from Bike Walk Tulsa spawned two news stories about biking and walking on Tulsa radio station KRMG Wednesday and Thursday. The stories, unfortunately, were filled with misspellings (their specialty is talking into a microphone) and factual inaccuracies that generated tweets, status updates and comments, oh my!

Joe Kelley

Joe Kelley, News Director and host of The KRMG Morning News (photo: KRMG)

It all started on Tuesday when KRMG’s news director and morning show host, Joe Kelley (@talkradiojoe), tweeted

“I’m FIRST today in the school pickup line for the kids!

This must have been how Neil Armstrong felt.

#booyah

In a nudging effort to get Kelley to explain the obstacles that prevent his and other Tulsa-area children from biking and walking to school, Bike Walk Tulsa (@bikewalktulsa) responded by tweeting,

“Y not let em bike or walk?”

Bike Walk Tulsa expected standard responses like “too dangerous to have my kids cross a busy street”, “no sidewalks” or “cul de sacs and dead ends mean the kids would have to walk/bike along busy streets to get there” – you know, common suburban problems. Instead, @talkradiojoe responded with,

“It’s 9 miles away. And they’re 5.”

Apparently, Kelley has his kids in private school or some kind of magnet school because most public elementary school kids don’t have a nine mile commute.  Although it wasn’t quite the expected answer, @bikewalktulsa responded anyhow by telling Kelley about the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program,

“If school is ever closer, check out Safe Routes to School bit.lysqy9En good day!”

The link in the tweet takes you to a Bike Walk Tulsa story on SRTS that contains an embedded video about the program’s work in Tulsa.

Trails Alone Don’t Make A City ‘Walkable’

In the Tuesday edition of ‘Word on the Street’, Bike Walk Tulsa included a link to a story about Tulsa earning the ranking of seventh most artery-clogging city in the U.S. The story attributes Tulsa’s ranking to its “low walkability.”

“According to Walk Score, an organization which promotes pedestrian-friendly communities, only 6% of Tulsa residents live in a neighborhood with a walk score of 70 or above (100 being best) and 57% live in entirely car-dependent locales.”

The difference between a walkable neighborhood and a sprawling neighborhood.

Source: WalkScore.com

A quick and easy search of the Walk Score website finds that a walkable neighborhood is one where schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes, affordable housing is located near businesses, buildings are close to the street with parking lots in the rear, streets are designed with pedestrians in mind, there are plenty of public places to gather and play, and there are enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.

Fast forward to Wednesday night – after checking out Bike Walk Tulsa’s site and seeing the artery-clogging article, KRMG gets a little creative (i.e. makes stuff up) by posting a story on its website with the headline:

Claim: Tulsa is 7th Most Artery-Clogging City Due to Lack of Trails

Lack of trails? Nevermind the article that prompted KRMG’s story did not even contain the word ‘trail’. Evidently, Joe Kelley and his news staff didn’t do enough fact-checking to gain an understanding of what makes up a walkable city. According to KRMG, if you can get into your car and drive a few miles to River Parks or LaFortune Park, Tulsa must be very walkable. Then, in an admirable effort to help combat Oklahoma’s obesity epidemic, KRMG reveals the mind-blowing secret that if you just park your car a little further away from Walmart, your obesity problems will disappear.

“…we can all do more to keep ourselves healthy by making small adjustments to our lifestyle.

For example, park on the far side of the parking lot rather than as close to the door as you can get.”

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