The Streetsblog DC recently published a story on a telephone poll of 1,003 Americans, which was commissioned by the advocacy group America Bikes and conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. The results were “unequivocal: 83 percent said that federal bike-ped funding should increase, or at the very least be maintained.”
The car is becoming more and more passe in many circles, especially the younger ones (the Princeton survey found over 90 percent of respondents aged 18-29 support bike-ped). However, this circle is widening by leaps and bounds. People want to be outside on wheels, and walking. People want nature in their day-to-day transit or for leisure — they want normal exercise going and coming from their chores and their work, and they want it available all around. Communities want to be on their feet, they want better routes under their wheels. People want more walkways and bike paths.
“From this day forward, we can say with total confidence that this issue has bipartisan support and is in the national interest,” Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, said. Ben Goldman’s article expresses our happiness: ” Even for bikers who expected some good percentages this poll fulfilled and surpassed expectations. It has good timing. It is released the day after the first official meeting of the House-Senate conference committee:
- 83 percent of all respondents support maintaining or growing the federal funding streams that pay for sidewalks, bikeways, and bike paths.
- 80 percent of Republican respondents and 88 percent of Democrat respondents think Congress should maintain or increase federal funds for biking and walking.
- 85 percent of Northeastern respondents, 79 percent of Midwesterners, 84 percent of Southerners, and 84 percent of respondents from Western states reported support for maintaining or increasing funding for sidewalks and bikeways.
- 91 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 support continuing or increasing biking and walking funds.
“The poll is timely, coming charged with hammering out a compromise transportation bill before policy expires on June 30. The Senate bill includes some protections for bike-ped programs and devolves certain funding decisions to cities and local governments, while early drafts of the House bill eliminated those programs altogether.”
The hope is that the survey results influence the conference committee to retain the provisions of the Cardin-Cochran amendment to the Senate bill. This amendment places bike-ped funding decisions directly in the hands of local authorities.
Goldman points out the Senators to look to and appreciate, clear-thinking people and important public supports in Congress. As they work to get the message to other lawmakers in time and get important funds for bikers and pedestrians, “Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Tom Petri (R-WI) were on hand to tout the survey’s results and defend the importance of bicycle and pedestrian programs.”
As Senator Durbin points out, “Some people fight crime, some people fight terrorism,” said Durbin, enumerating just a few reasons to enter public service. “The Tea Party came to fight bikes.” Durbin, who sits on the transportation bill conference committee, said that even his suburban and rural constituents are incredibly proud of their bicycle infrastructure and want to see continued federal support.”
Thank you Senator, I wish I lived in IL so I could vote for you. How wonderful it might feel to get behind a vote for someone such as this.