I’m Walking Here, Eh: Federal Action on Healthy Transportation

“Americans have demonstrated that when we have greater access to safe infrastructure for walking or bicycling, we are eager to enjoy the health benefits, cost savings, and pleasure of walking or riding through our communities.”  –Action Plan on Bike and Pedestrian Safety, Federal DOT (Department of Transportation), September 2014, updated January 22, 2015.

We all know it is good for us to walk or bike to get to our destination but the idea that we might not be as safe as we want to be while doing so can pose a significant barrier to exercising this option.  Good news, there is conversation, planning and action happening at every level for making travel by walking and biking more comfortable, easier and safer for everyone.  There are some excellent resources from the Federal DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.   The Secretary’s Action Plan on Bike and Pedestrian Safety details strategies for “continual improvements” focusing on changes that can have “lasting impacts” on encouraging more walking, biking and transit travel.  It has a little something for everybody, from research on protected bike lanes, to transportation implementation measures for increasing “equality, bringing people together, expanding the middle class, and helping people who are trying to get into the middle class.”  Locally, the Action Plan is being used to guide an assessment of bicycling and walking safety along New Mexico Hwy 313 through the Sandia Pueblo.  I’ll be participating in that study.  I would highly recommend taking a look at this Action Plan when you have time.  It is aspirational and inspirational, and shows how the pool of talented transportation professionals shifting their focus onto walking and biking issues is growing.

A Resident’s Guide for Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking is another excellent resource.  It includes resources for ordinary citizens and local organizations seeking to develop grass roots initiatives and organize local communities.  The Resident’s Guide provides guidelines for developing better preparedness for safe and healthy interactions in our public transportation environment.  This is a great connective resource that shows government is working as designed, and functioning to empower ordinary citizens to shape the world based on how we act in our daily lives.  With the DOT offering resources and tools like these, and the Mayor’s Challenge connecting at the city level working for safer people through safer streets, we have a comprehensive strategy for constant improvement and coordinated efficiency to address this common ground concern for human dignity and life that will save us money, strengthen our country, save lives and improve our life together.  This is a good effort to be a part of.

Secretary Anthony Foxx presenting at ProWalk ProBike ProPlace
“We’ll only come here if we can have our location by that [walk and bike] trail.”  –Anthony Foxx’s anecdote about the city of Indianapolis competing for a new business.  The business said they’d come, and the selling point was proximity to good walking and bicycling.
“As our country evolves, people are wanting to live closer to the things we want to do.  We’re going to want to walk.  We are going to want to bike.” –Foxx

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