The following email from the League of American Bicyclists arrived in my inbox yesterday afternoon (seemingly addressed to those who sent an email to Congress) about the latest on the bike/walk amendment:
You have probably heard that the Petri/Johnson/Lipinski amendment to restore dedicated funding for bicycling and walking lost narrowly by just two votes in this morning’s Transportation Committee meeting in the House of Representatives. The bi-partisan amendment and vote took place against the backdrop of a very partisan and rancorous mark-up of the legislation – the two Republican sponsors of the bike/walk amendment, Reps. Petri and Johnson, deserve a huge “thank you” for taking on this challenge on behalf of the cycling and walking community.
You also deserve a huge “thank you”. The League’s on-line advocacy center reported yours was one of more than 18,000 e-mails sent to Members of Congress on this issue – a stunning number, and surely part of the reason we were able to put up such a good fight today. We are meeting this evening with our colleagues in the America Bikes coalition to determine our next steps, greatly heartened by your incredible support. If nothing else, today’s vote has shown the leadership of the House and committee chairman Mica that we are a force with which to be reckoned.
Notwithstanding other developments, we expect the transportation bill will be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives very soon: February 13th. As soon as we have decided our strategy for this next critical phase, we’ll be in touch again. Meanwhile, you can check the League’s website, or America Bikes for more information; and please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.
As you can see, more debating ensues on the House floor early next week, so there may very well be more calls to action from the League and/or your local bike advocacy group in the coming days.
From BikeCommuters.com, thank you for taking action with us.
It seems like every couple of weeks over the past year, some of our elected officials decide to tinker with things and put bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure funding in jeopardy. The League of American Bicyclists is sounding the alarm again about today’s announcement of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, introduced by John Mica (R-FL). As the LAB states in their email to us:
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.
The LAB has created a handy letter and contact tool so you can voice your concerns with your representative(s). Simply click on the Capwiz link, enter your zipcode and the system generates an editable letter for you.
Make your voice be heard…while we understand that the Federal Government cannot be expected to pay for everything, and that the states should be responsible for the bulk of bike/ped infrastructure, this proposed Act sets a dangerous precedent that jeopardizes decades of progress.
Here’s a roundup of various bike-related things clogging up my inbox…what better way to clear that out than to share them with you?
First off, the United States Postal Service announced that they will be printing “Bicycle Forever” stamps in 2012.
“We are excited to promote one the nation’s most popular outdoor activities with the issuance of these four Bicycling stamps,” added [Stamp Services manager Stephen] Kearny. “These days, increasing numbers of Americans ride bikes to work or use them to run neighborhood errands. Many travel organizations offer cycling tours, from leisurely half-day jaunts to weeks-long excursions. No matter how long the ride, choosing to bike rather than to drive cuts down on traffic congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, which benefits the environment and helps improve air quality.”
Going to Interbike this year? Some of the staffers at Bikecommuters.com/Mtnbikeriders.com are…and when we do, we’re going to get a chance to ride on Circulus, which Vince wrote about last week. From the Interbike press release:
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – July 26, 2011 – Celebrating urban, fixed and track bike culture, Interbike is installing Portland Design Works’ Circulus, a 132-foot circumference (40.2m), 45-degree wooden mini-velodrome inside the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Sponsored by Paved magazine, Yakima, All-City Cycles and Portland Design Works (PDW), Circulus will be the site of multiple events at the Interbike Expo in Las Vegas September 14-16.
Circulus will be setup next to the Urban Lounge, home of the Interbike City Style Fashion Show, and The Pub, a new beer garden and bar located on the show’s street level expo space. Show attendees will be able to hang out, ride All-City Cycles bikes on the track and compete in events on the first and second days of the show, including the PDW/Paved Pro-Am Classic at Circulus.
“Circulus will add something completely new and unique to this year’s show,” said Interbike Brand and Communications Director Rich Kelly. “We’re placing a big emphasis on urban cycling and the brands that support it and having Circulus there will be a big draw for that segment of the market. And, of course, I can’t wait to take a spin on it myself.”
Normally housed at PDW’s headquarters, Circulus will be dismantled, transported to Las Vegas and reassembled for the 30th edition of the bicycle industry’s annual trade show.
“Over the years, we’ve watched urban cycling grow to be on par with any other segment of cycling. We love that, and believe the universal appeal of Circulus is a reflection of the passion and vibrant growth of urban cycling,” said PDW Co-Founder Dan Powell. “We can’t wait for folks to hop on and turn some hot laps on the show floor.”
The circular track was originally conceived and built by Claremont, Calif. Pomona College art student Samuel Starr as part of his 2010 senior thesis. Circulus was later purchased by PDW and all 39 sections of the track were shipped to the company’s Oregon warehouse where it was reassembled.
“Since I first heard about Circulus, I knew Paved magazine had to be involved in some way,” said Paved Editor Joe Parkin. “Circulus combines design and a passion for bikes, but with a light-hearted demeanor – kind of like what we try to do with Paved. I can’t wait to see peoples’ reactions to the events at Interbike.”
Next up, I got a press release from Transportation For America that has been making the rounds on various bike news outlets. It seems that the U.S. House of Representatives are proposing some drastic cuts to transportation funding:
Late last week the House released an outline of their transportation bill and the news was not encouraging. The proposal would cut total transportation funding by one-third. It would also kill the tiny slice of dedicated funding for safer walking and biking and drastically reduce transit support, while failing to focus on fixing and repairing our crumbling roads and bridges.
While I understand that the Federal Government can’t possibly pay for everything, and in fact shouldn’t in many cases (the states should be responsible for the bulk of their bike/ped improvements…we’ve discussed this many times around here), this sets a dangerous precedent. But this transportation bill proposal cuts into infrastructure funding of ALL kinds, not just bike/ped stuff, and losing those funds can offer states an “out” in that they may not want to proceed with improvements/restorations without that federal “seed money”. Tough times we’re living in, folks…the economy is affecting everything now, and our cities are crumbling from the streets on up. Anyhow, if you’re inclined, you can contact your state representatives to tell them how you feel by clicking here.
Finally: Need more proof that bikes are the hot fashion accessory these days, and that people of all kinds are flocking to them? Look no further: fashion designer Philip Lim provided a promo of his Fall/Winter 2011 collection by outfitting models with Linus citybikes. It’s a fun, Kraftwerky video preview, and the models and bikes are stunning: