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Bikes Belong

Bikes Belong February 2010 News

02.09.2010
Boulder, Colorado

The Next Transportation Bill: A Quick Review and Update

The multi-year federal transportation bill - the primary source of U.S. funding for bicycling facilities and programs - remains in limbo. The current legislation, SAFETEA-LU, technically expired at the end of September 2009.

Since then, Congress has approved a series of short transportation bill extensions that keep the funding flowing at current dollar levels. The latest extension will expire on February 28. Additional extensions seem nearly certain, and new legislation may not be fully considered until after the 2010 election in early November.

SAFETEA-LU became law in July 2005, and authorized more than $286 billion in spending - including more than $4 billion for bicycling and walking projects. While extensions provide continuing funding for nearly all transportation programs (including bicycling-related ones), their short-term nature discourage transportation officials from committing to ambitious, long-term efforts.

Last summer, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee chairman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota introduced a $500 billion transportation bill blueprint that includes a variety of new measures that support bicycling. While this bill was approved by the House T&I Committee, it has not been addressed by the full House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate and Obama Administration have sent mixed signals on their readiness to consider a new transportation bill during this session of Congress. One key, ongoing issue is the funding mechanism: the Highway Trust Fund, which is supported by the Federal excise tax on motor vehicle fuel purchases, has been running a significant deficit.

Bikes Belong and its America Bikes partners continue to monitor the process and push the America Bikes platform for the next transportation bill. Read more at americabikes.org.

Big Cities Unite to Promote Cycling Congressman Earl Blumenauer, New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and artist/musician David Byrne joined officials from 15 big U.S. cities to unveil Cities for Cycling December 8 in Washington, D.C. Cities for Cycling is a new effort by city governments to promote best practices in urban cycling and to increase the use of bicycles to improve urban mobility, livability and public health while reducing traffic congestion and CO2 emissions.

Bikes Belong and the SRAM Cycling Fund are providing support for Cities for Cycling - a project of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). Cities for Cycling is comprised of transportation and elected officials from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Cities for Cycling will feature an online repository of bike-friendly street best practice factsheets as well as a library of links to cities' technical design guidelines for innovative bicycle facilities. The project will convene leading planning experts from cities around the United States and abroad to share information and stimulate the development of a new generation of better bicycle facilities. Read the full story.

For more information, visit citiesforcycling.org.

Bikes Belong Has New and Innovative Neighbors

One of the great things about being based in Boulder, Colorado, is the vibrant, inspiring bike culture: the well-developed bike facility infrastructure, the large number of commuters, and diverse mix of bike-friendly companies that support the cycling lifestyle.

Our previous office had a bird's-eye view of Boulder's famous contraflow bike lane that converted a two-way street into a one-way, and added the main north-south bike route through the city. Last August we moved six blocks east to 1928 Pearl Street. We still see a constant stream of people enjoying bicycles, but now we're across the street from an innovative real-estate company, Pedal to Properties.

Pedal to Properties is a full service real-estate company that offers a unique option: touring neighborhoods by bicycle to look at homes. Their core concept is one we can all support: there's no better way to learn about a neighborhood than by experiencing it on two wheels.

Please help us welcome Pedal to Properties as the first real-estate company member of the Bikes Belong Coalition. We wish them great success as they look to expand across the United States.

City Leaders to Explore European Bike Infrastructure

In April, Bikes Belong will lead a group of city leaders from Madison, Wisconsin, on a six-day study trip of bicycling best practices in the Netherlands and Germany. The trip will engage planners, engineers, developers, business leaders, and policy makers through intensive meetings with European cycling and urban design experts and site visits to state-of-the-art bicycling facilities. The group will return to Madison inspired and equipped with fresh ideas for making bicycling safer, more comfortable and more convenient.

The Netherlands and Germany rank among the world's most advanced bicycling nations. In some cities, up to half of all trips are made by bicycle and cycling is a mainstream, everyday transportation option for women and men of all ages. In comparison, only about 1% of all trips in the U.S. are pedal-powered.

Bikes Belong is supporting the trip as part of our Bicycling Design Best Practices Project, which works to encourage U.S. innovations and publicize best practices in bicycle facilities. Other funding is coming from the Wisconsin bicycling community. Two additional international trips and two domestic tours are planned for 2010.

Quick Releases

  • Bikes Belong conducted a Recreational Road Riding Events Study to estimate the economic impact of the 1,700 organized rides that happen every year in the U.S. The study found that 1 million participants bring $140 million in direct spending to the communities that host rides, in addition to $240 million in total revenue collected by the rides and another $200 million raised for charity.

  • In late 2009, Bikes Belong presented two $15,000 awards to support important projects led by our partner organizations Adventure Cycling Association and the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking. The U.S. Bicycle Route System, led by Adventure Cycling, will designate a national network of bicycle routes to create what could become the largest bike route network on the planet. The Alliance for Bicycling and Walking's latest Benchmarking Report, released on January 28, captures and analyzes a wealth of data on biking and walking in all 50 states and the nation's 50 largest cities.

  • Bikes Belong announced our fall grant awards at the end of 2009, totaling nearly $50,000. Funding in this round will help put more people on bicycles more often in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. The winter 2010 grants will be announced in early February.

  • As one of only three Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Communities in the country, Bikes Belong's hometown of Boulder, Colorado is helping set the bar for bicycling standards in the U.S. But how did Boulder become a model cycling community? Our new video, the Boulder Bike Story, sheds light on what Boulder has done and how other communities can follow.

  • The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) State Network Project has expanded to include 19 states and the District of Columbia for 2010 and 2011. The project brings together state leaders to remove barriers to walking and bicycling to and from school. The 2010-2011 phase of the State Network Project will also focus on serving low-income communities and reducing crime.

  • Visit Bikes Belong on Twitter and Facebook

Facts & Stats

People who live near multi-use trails are 50% more likely to be physically active and up to 80% more likely to bicycle.
Huston et al., in "Active Transportation: Making the Link from Transportation to Physical Activity and Obesity," Active Living Research research brief, Summer 2009

In 2018, 43 percent of US adults will be obese, adding $344 billion to direct health care costs.
Thorpe, K., 2009, The future costs of obesity: National and state estimates of the impact of obesity on direct health care expenses, November 2009

In 2005, U.S. motor vehicles produced $56 billion in health and other non-climate-related damages, nearly 2 cents for every mile traveled.
National Resource Council, 2009, Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

Visit our searchable Statistics Library for more fast facts to make the case for bicycling.

###

Contacts
Bikes Belong
303-449-4893
mail@bikesbelong.org
www.bikesbelong.org

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