A few weeks ago, I blogged that, "People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning."
It didn't seem that controversial to me. After all, I didn't say they should have the only voice. Just a voice.
People are always going to drive cars. And we are always going to rely on the hardworking trucking community to haul our nation's freight. We’ve made a huge investment in our interstate highway system, and that's not going away. We are going to continue maintaining that investment.
But we do have many modes of transportation in this country, many different ways of getting around. Why not make room at the table for bicycling and walking?
As the New York Times Green Inc column noted yesterday, this idea generated a huge outpouring of support on Facebook, Twitter, my Fastlane page, and other blogs. A lot of people out there are enthusiastic about a return to a healthier, greener American mobility.
That's why I told Green Inc, "This is not just Ray LaHood’s agenda, this is the American agenda; people want alternatives to the automobile."
You see, it turns out I'm not the only one who thinks America can increase access to public transit and safe walking and bicycling.
Four out of five voters--82%--support the idea of an expanded U.S. transportation system. The kind of system that allows people to use their cars if they want to, but also allows easier use of other ways to get from place to place.
The poll results indicate that a majority of voters would like to spend less time in their cars, but 73% said they had no other choice but to drive.
Interestingly, according to T4America, "the desire to increase the amount of funding allocated to options beyond roads and highways was shared across demographic, geographic and political lines."
T4America co-chair Geoff Anderson reached this conclusion:
"In small towns and big cities alike, Americans are saying loudly and clearly that their lives would be better, and their nation stronger, if we had world-class public transportation and more options for walking and bicycling."
This is precisely what I've been talking about here in this blog with regard to livability, transit, and walking and biking. I have traveled all over this country in the past 14 months, and everywhere I go people want better options. Options that offer reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. Options that offer reduced fuel-consumption. Options that offer better health. Options that bring communities together.
Now, let me make this absolutely clear: I never said we would stop repairing, maintaining, and--yes--even expanding roadways. I said only that it's time to stop assuming that putting more cars on more roads is the best way to move people around more effectively.
This survey demonstrates that, by and large, the American people get that. I never doubted them, but it sure is nice to see the numbers.
So, thank you, Transportation For America, for that 82%-strong vote of confidence.