For many American families, transportation is the second largest expense--after housing. Households are particularly vulnerable to transportation costs in tough economic times and when gas prices spike unexpectedly. In the past few years, an increasing number of commuters have turned to bicycling and walking--where it's feasible--to reduce their transportation costs.
Last Friday, the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia opened a segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk that will help area residents do just that.
Photo courtesy WAMU / Jessica Gould
I was in good company at Friday's celebration, dubbed "Anacostia's Great Outdoors," and it was a pleasure to join Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, and US Senator Ben Cardin. The many different jurisdictions and agencies represented indicate the strong partnership working to restore the Anacostia River, to connect communities, to help people enjoy America's Great Outdoors, and to get people where they need to go safely and efficiently.
This is a good use of federal funds, and let me tell you why.
Now, there will always be cars and trucks, and DOT will always be committed to keeping America’s roadways the safest and most efficient in the world. But our roads and parks belong to all of us, including those who want to use their feet to get where they're going. So we need to make sure the roads we build and repair are safe for everyone using them. And that means taking the interests of cyclists and walkers into account.
On Friday, I saw what can happen when leaders work together to make the promise of a more walkable, bikeable, livable region into a reality. And I look forward to returning to the Anacostia Riverwalk to celebrate as more trails are opened, more communities are connected, and more commuters have money-saving transportation options.