At this morning's Opening Session of the National Bicycle Summit, we heard from Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who understands that the path toward better bicycling and walking lies in investing in the right infrastructure. Last week, Representative Blumenauer introduced a piece of legislation called the "Active Transportation Community Act" (the ACT Act), that could set aside $2 billion over 5 years for grants to fund safe networks for biking and walking in communities all across the country.
It's no secret that those cities, states and countries that invest in bicycling and walking infrastructure have higher walk/bicycling rates. A new report by the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking found that in Philadelphia, 13% of all trips are by bicycling and walking, while 34% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians and only 1.7% of federal transportation dollars received by Philadelphia go towards bicycling and walking.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and others have been working to increase investment in bicycling and walking infrastructure, i.e. multi-use trails and enhanced bicycle lanes such as Spruce and Pine to help facilitate a growth in bicycling and walking.
The recent $23 million TIGER grant awarded to Philadelphia and Camden is an example of our successful effort to help the region win more investment dollars. But, more is necessary to Complete the Trail and truly transform the region's bicycling and walking network. Just a few weeks ago, we helped to submit several appropriations requests to close the remaining gaps in the Schuylkill River Trail, such as the Wissahickon Gateway, the Manayunk Bridge and the Ivy Ridge Trail.
The ACT Act is precisely what the Greater Philadelphia region needs to complete the Schuylkill River Trail and East Coast Greenway, and improve our streets and sidewalks to accomodate more safely bicyclists and pedestrians.
Let's urge our representatives to be co-sponsors of this bill AND to support our local appropriations requests. Please use this convenient, pre-written letter to ask for their support.
Bicycle Coalition volunteers, staff and board members are down in DC this week representing the interest of bicyclists in the Greater Philadelphia region during the National Bike Summit. We will be visiting the offices of our Congressmen and Senators tommorrow on Thursday, March 11th. You can back us up by participating in the Virtual Lobby Day! Send this letter to your Representative and Senators to ask that they co-sponsor HR 4722 and support Completing the Trail. We'll be joining hundreds of fellow advocacy organizations from around the U.S, speaking up for bicycling on the national level. We want 2010 will be the beginning of bicycling's best decade ever!