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Old 08-16-07, 02:45 PM   #1
Spike3905
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Trouble at the Top

Some of you may have seen US DOT Secretary Mary Peters on the Newshour on PBS last night. She outraged me when she said the problem wasn't too little money for transportation, but that too much of the money is spent on things like "bike paths and trails" instead of transportation infrastructure.

You can find a transcript here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/trans...ure_08-15.html

The top transportation official in America obviously doesn't believe that biking is a serious mode of transportation.

If you disagree, you can make your feelings known here: dot.comments@dot.gov
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Old 08-16-07, 03:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Spike3905 View Post
Some of you may have seen US DOT Secretary Mary Peters on the Newshour on PBS last night. She outraged me when she said the problem wasn't too little money for transportation, but that too much of the money is spent on things like "bike paths and trails" instead of transportation infrastructure.

You can find a transcript here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/trans...ure_08-15.html

The top transportation official in America obviously doesn't believe that biking is a serious mode of transportation.

If you disagree, you can make your feelings known here: dot.comments@dot.gov
Evidently she didn't get the memo that "America is addicted to oil."
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Old 08-16-07, 03:18 PM   #3
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Sticking my nose in where it will probably not be appreciated, I have sent the following

"Dear Ms Peters

As someone who has used his bike for commuting, shopping, leisure, touring and racing for a sizeable portion of the last quarter century, I am baffled to learn the the US Secretary for Transportation doesn't regard my main form of transport as transportation.

It costs you far less to take someone out of their car by providing cycling facilities than it does to provide extra infrastructure for each aditional car. Doing so also has knock-on effects on your nation's health, which, given US citizen's propensity to, frequently gross and life-threatening, obesity, you and your Dept of Health should be encouraging the shift to cycling as a greater percentage of the journeys taking place in your country.

It would have been most instructive if you had compared the total amount of gas dollars spent on cycling infrastructure (excluding white cycle lane paint on the highways )with the likely cost of re-building the infamous bridge, not to mention how much of the cost of the surveys of other bridges which you will now be funding.

Yours sincerely

A (frequently baffled) observer of US transport policies"
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Old 08-16-07, 04:34 PM   #4
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I ride a bike, and I think too much money is spent of bike paths and trails. Any is too much. We have a perfectly servicable system of bike paths that run from your doorstep to any where you want to go. They are called roads. We should work on getting accpeted on the roads. Any action on bike paths or trails is just a diversion.

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Old 08-16-07, 04:55 PM   #5
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At the risk of political backlash...

Perhaps we should be spending more funds on infrastructure at home vice trying to "build a country" abroad.

I wonder how quickly Haliburton could rebuild a bridge?
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Old 08-16-07, 05:21 PM   #6
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To be honest, the bike paths around here are a waste of dollars. If they were designed with actual humans in mind, and consideration of where they might go (not into the woods on a 5 ft wide path, they might be more functional. I actually think more bike lanes on roads would be a better solution that bike paths/ greenways.
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Old 08-16-07, 05:47 PM   #7
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Some bike paths are just recreational parks. Others are real transportation. The proof is whether any significant number of cyclists use them to get from Point A to Point B instead of just from Point A back to Point A.
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Old 08-17-07, 05:40 AM   #8
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Some bike paths are just recreational parks. Others are real transportation. The proof is whether any significant number of cyclists use them to get from Point A to Point B instead of just from Point A back to Point A.
Well said. And the factor that determines whether cyclists go from Point A to Point B is obviously whether bike paths actually connect destinations. Some paths were originally created with only recreational use in mind but over time they have become transportation routes because they connect people with places they want to go.

But I also don't see anything wrong with recreational paths where you go from Point A to Point A because the path itself is the destination. As long as people don't claim the path serves a transportation purpose.
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Old 08-17-07, 05:47 AM   #9
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I actually think more bike lanes on roads would be a better solution that bike paths/ greenways.
It shouldn't be an either/or choice: I think we need both! And where it makes sense, they should be connected together.
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Old 08-17-07, 05:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by atbman View Post
Sticking my nose in where it will probably not be appreciated, I have sent the following

"Dear Ms Peters

As someone who has used his bike for commuting, shopping, leisure, touring and racing for a sizeable portion of the last quarter century, I am baffled to learn the the US Secretary for Transportation doesn't regard my main form of transport as transportation.

It costs you far less to take someone out of their car by providing cycling facilities than it does to provide extra infrastructure for each aditional car. Doing so also has knock-on effects on your nation's health, which, given US citizen's propensity to, frequently gross and life-threatening, obesity, you and your Dept of Health should be encouraging the shift to cycling as a greater percentage of the journeys taking place in your country.

It would have been most instructive if you had compared the total amount of gas dollars spent on cycling infrastructure (excluding white cycle lane paint on the highways )with the likely cost of re-building the infamous bridge, not to mention how much of the cost of the surveys of other bridges which you will now be funding.

Yours sincerely

A (frequently baffled) observer of US transport policies"

Bravo! You have every reason to be "frequently baffled." I am always impressed by what you folks are doing with what you call "sustainable transport."

And, by the way, here's my note to the secretary:


Madame Secretary,

I am a motorist who pays federal gasoline taxes. But as someone who also uses "bike paths and trails" on my daily commute I was outraged to hear you say that such infrastructure is not transportation-related and doesn't merit support by the federal government.

If I -- and the millions like me -- were to abandon our bicycles and drive to work, our already-clogged highways would be much worse, our air would be dirtier and our personal health would suffer. It grieves me that the nation's top transportation official apparently lacks the foresight to understand that walking and biking are legitimate and important modes of transportation. For if we believe that roads are the only answer to traffic congestion, then traffic congestion will only get progressively worse.
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Old 08-17-07, 06:34 AM   #11
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What else would you expect from a Bush administration flunky?
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Old 08-17-07, 06:53 AM   #12
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What else would you expect from a Bush administration flunky?
Let's not go there. Remember that the last Democrat we had in the White House was only the second president in US history to be impeached.
Back on topic, you notice she didn't address any specific ways to reduce traffic other than the NYC proposal, not a single mention of mass transit. That may have been due to time constraints, but she did have time to mention bike paths twice as not being an effective use of funds. I'll be sending my email and snail mail to the Sec. Peters today. Snail mail still works quite effectively in politics. Use those stamps.

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Old 08-17-07, 07:34 AM   #13
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Snail mail still works quite effectively in politics. Use those stamps.
This is really true. I've done the same. A tangible letter has much more impact than an email. But an email is better than nothing!
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Old 08-17-07, 08:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
I ride a bike, and I think too much money is spent of bike paths and trails. Any is too much. We have a perfectly servicable system of bike paths that run from your doorstep to any where you want to go. They are called roads. We should work on getting accpeted on the roads. Any action on bike paths or trails is just a diversion.
To me there is a menu of good ideas, many of which are discussed on this and other boards. This would include expansion of shoulders on roads where they are missing or inadequate.

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