Thursday, December 16, 2010

Send ideas for improving bicycle transportation to Governor McDonnell

Governor McDonnell recently held a town hall meeting for government employees. During the question and answer period he was asked what was being done to promote active transportation:
Audience: What ideas do you have for how we can promote and encourage active transportation?
Governor: Bikes, mopeds, horses.
A: The simplest being walking.
G: I guess if you live close enough to your workplace.
A: Most trips are less than 3 miles.
G: You mean the average commute? Really?
A: Most trips be they commuting, to get to the store, to get kids to soccer games are less than 3 miles.
G: You know what I think the biggest problem is? How busy are lives are. I would love to walk but you know what, I don't have time. With your busy lives and all of the demands you don't factor in that half an hour it takes you to walk and you factor in the 3 or 4 minute drive it takes to get there I think that's the biggest inhibitor. I tell you I know there have been some things done between our Secretary of Transportation and Norfolk Southern and some of the bike trails that have been created. Does anybody have a better answer? Secretary Connaughton's not here.
A: (The trail between Williamsburg to Richmond was mentioned.)
G: What would be your ideas; what do you think we ought to do?
A: There are many much cheaper, much simpler ways than that such as bike lanes on roadways, some pathways are important, replacing parking lanes with bike lanes, and making bike parking easier than car parking, reducing speed limits on roads is an important one.
G: Why don't we look at that. I'm doing my part, I actually walk to work now. Don't just think you have just one shot in the year [to provide feedback]. If you like what I'm doing or don't like what I'm doing, please tell me.
It's a common misconception that most of our trips involve commuting to work. Commuting to work comprises only about 20% of all trips. The rest are for family/personal business (30%), social and recreational (30%), and to school/church (5%). Most of these trips are less than 5 miles and many are less than 3 miles.

The Governor is going to look into promoting and encouraging more active transportation. Why not let him know that you think it's a great idea.
Dear Governor McDonnell,

I encourage you to promote better active transportation in Virginia. There are many solutions to our transportation problems, and active transportation is a very low cost way to encourage more people get out of their cars and using bicycles and walking to nearby destinations.

As you learned recently, most of our trips do not involve commuting to work, and most are shorter than 5 miles. Rather than taking 3 or 4 minutes to drive, in our area these trips often take much longer. Using a bicycle is a very a viable option in many areas and would be an even better option if we had better on-road bike facilities. While trails are useful, we have a connected road network that exists; we just need to make it better for bicyclists.

See a video clip form the meeting. From the Virginia Cycling Association discussion on Google groups.

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The reference to horses in replying to a question about active transportation seems aimed at disparaging these modes. Lon Anderson of AAA Mid Atlantic made a similar reference to horses in his December 9 speech at the Governor's Transportation Conference in Roanoke.

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