Friday, January 30, 2009

Economic Stimulus -- But Will Transportation Be Better For All of Us?

Thanks to the League of American Bicyclists for keeping us in the know!

Update on Economic Stimulus legislation, January 30, 2009

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The League of American Bicyclists and other members of the America Bikes Coalition have been working to ensure that economic recovery funds help communities create safe, healthy, and less-polluting transportation options for all Americans by providing explicit funding for bicycle, pedestrian and trail investments.

The House bill includes $30 billion for the highway transportation program. Forty-five percent of the funds are eligible to be distributed under the current Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding formulas. This means $1.35 billion would be available for transportation enhancements – and typically, 50%-60% of transportation enhancements funds have been invested in bicycle and pedestrian projects.

We anticipate that early next week, the Senate will start to vote on their version of the Economic Recovery Bill, which was released this week. The Senate version includes $27 billion in “Highway” funding which will be distributed to the States under the current STP formulas.

A summary of the bill can be found at

What can you do?

First, keep checking in with the America Bikes, League or other coalition group websites and e-mail lists for updates. The legislation is moving fast, and the opportunities to weigh in on specific votes, language etc. come and go quite quickly!

Second, by all means let your Senators know that you hope to see bike, pedestrian and trail projects funded as part of the recovery programs, even though the precise mechanism by which this will be done is unclear.

Contact US Senator Arlen Specter:

Contact US Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.:

Third, keep compiling those lists of shovel ready projects so that you can ensure your State DOT has a full menu of nonmotorized projects to choose from when the money starts flowing!

Andy Clarke
League of American Bicyclists
Help protect the rights of cyclists across the nation! Donate today

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Local Community Group Organizes for Walkable Schools

This was posted from a reader on the WalkBikeBerks yahoo list and we wanted to share this with our blog readers:

Save Our Neighborhood Schools!

The KASD School Board recently voted to close Albany and reconfigure the remaining schools into grade level centers, forcing all of our youngest children to be transported away from their home neighborhoods.

Thursday, January 29 7:00 pm Kutztown Fire Company, 310 Noble St. in Kutztown
Kutztown Community Partnership' s revitalization efforts to establish a more walkable, family-friendly, and greener community ignored

To learn more about Kutztown's Community Partnership, please go to their website: . You will find a Walkable Community Support Letter on the home page. Take a moment to read it -- then work with us to support a walkable Kutztown -- and Berks County.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

National Complete Streets Campaign

To Learn More about the National Complete Streets Coalition, please visit:

Greenville, SC Commits to Complete Streets
At the November 24th City Council meeting, the City of Greenville became the latest community in South Carolina to adopt a complete streets resolution (pdf). The new policy is an important step in the City's Bicycle Friendly Community campaign and reinforces its commitment to improving travel conditions and choices for people of all ages and abilities.

New Ordinances in DeSoto and Ferguson
The cities of DeSoto and Ferguson, Missouri worked with local active living advocate Trailnet to adopt Complete Streets ordinances this month. The new laws guide each community to design, build, and maintain streets in a manner that accommodates safe and contiguous travel for all users, regardless of age or ability. Read both policies online: DeSoto (pdf), Ferguson (pdf)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bike Commuting -- Can I Do It?

"Could I do it? I borrowed a bike from one of our national editors who has been commuting by bike for more than 20 years. It was scary at first, riding with traffic on some New York City streets, but once I hit the bike lane along the Hudson River, I felt safe, and made it to the office in less time than it would take in a taxi or on the subway. As a mom with two little ones who has zero time to exercise, bike commuting gives me the added benefit of getting a workout while commuting. So I’m considering trying it out – with my husband’s bike – and I’ll let you know how it goes. Of course, there is that superficial concern I mentioned at the top. What do you do I do about helmet head? It may just be a price worth paying for an easier, cheaper and healthier commute."

This comes our blog via CBS. You can find the rest of the story here:

In the whole story, Reporter Kelly Wallace asks herself the most common questions a woman might consider when making the decision to bike to work.

July 16, 2008, 6:00 PM
Test Drive: Trading In The Car For A Bike
Posted by Kelly Wallace 3

(CBS)Kelly Wallace is a CBS News Correspondent based in New York.
When I was assigned a story for tonight’s CBS Evening News with Katie Couric on bike commuting – how more Americans are getting to work on two wheels instead of four due to gas prices – I had a couple of questions. A few were serious, one somewhat vain. Who is really doing this? Could it be the start of a new trend? Is it safe? (Biking on New York City streets is not for the faint of heart!) Should I consider commuting by bike? And now to the superficial inquiry – what do you do about helmet head?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Action Alert

Contact Rep. Tim Holden via email or letter.

2009 is a critical year for bicyclists at the federal level. The U.S. transportation law must be reauthorized. If we want pedestrian and bicycling accommodations to remain part of the transportation mix, we need to inform our PA congressional delegation now and keep reminding them.

Ed and Pat Krebs from the LVBC met with Rep. Holden in January and provided a letter to explain what our issues are. They worked with the League of American Bicyclists’ lobbyist to obtain information and assistance. Their letter is available for you to read and use as a guide for your own email or letter. Personalizing is important. We are very fortunate that Tim is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the SubCommittee on Highways and Transit. In addition, there are six additional Pennsylvania Congressmen on the Transportation Committee. Our PA delegation includes 19 House members and our two U.S. Senators, Casey and Specter. Our senators also need to receive a similar message from us.

We all have the responsibility to communicate our perspectives and our legislative interests to our Representatives and Senators in the U.S. Congress. They do listen to their constituents.

Berks County Office
4918 Kutztown Road Temple, PA 19560
Phone: (610) 921-3502 FAX: (610) 921-3504

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SRAM Awards $400,000.00 to Bike Advocacy

The League of American Bicyclists and the Thunderhead Alliance for Biking and Walking now have funds to launch a nation-wide initiative to strengthen state and local advocacy groups and to help them make their communities more bike friendly.

January 16, 2009 -- Stan Day, President and CEO of SRAM Corporation commented on the potential of this combined effort. "National support of state and local advocacy groups is imperative to creating a bicycle friendly America," he said. "A committed partnership between the League and Thunderhead Alliance will guarantee greater coordination and effectiveness among an even broader base of local advocacy groups."

In response to SRAM’s announcement, Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists said, "SRAM’s outstanding contribution will strengthen our ability to capture this extraordinary moment of opportunity for bicycling. We have a new President, a new Congress and a new economic reality that is encouraging people to ride. Hundreds of millions of dollars of potential federal funding for cycling is at stake — and most of that will be invested at the local level. Bicyclists must have a voice in how that money is spent."

Jeff Miller, President of the Thunderhead Alliance said, "We intend to fully leverage this remarkable investment by SRAM. These funds will help form new state and local organizations, spur innovation among existing organizations, and deliver successful advocacy training to implement needed bike policies across the nation."

This is the fourth in a series of awards made by SRAM’s Cycling Fund, which was created on September 30, 2008. During the next five years, the Fund plans to award $10 million in grants to support committed national advocacy efforts that enhance cycling infrastructure, safety and access.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama's Call to Action

I am inspired. If my President-elect can pick up a paint brush or push a broom -- I can roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Please make it a point to enlist every single person in PA who you know supports Livable Streets -- those friends and co-workers who believe there must be a better way to design streets in our communities. If you know a bike advocate or a neighbor who walks their dog all over your home town -- that's who we need. Decide today that you are going to answer the new President's call to action -- and rally membership for your local bike/ped organization.

You can join WalkBikeBerks right now by clicking on the Donate button to the right. We need you -- and a donation in any amount will help us provide transportation choice in Berks County.

It is my hope that together, we can collectively get more done, more efficiently, more quickly.

WE CAN do this together.

Let's be the change we want to see.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Stimulus -- Sidewalks are Shovel Ready

Stimulus - Sidewalks are Shovel Ready
by John Boyle
Newspaper reports of PENNDOT’s “Shovel Ready” list of projects offer no mention of bicycle and pedestrian projects. That is a great indicator of the weak political position of bicycle and pedestrian advocates in the state. But we are not alone - only 2 states that have publicly posted their lists (Vermont and Maine) are asking for more than 1% of their funding allocation go to bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Former Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Michael Ronkin had a great suggestion - dedicate money for sidewalks as translated on the Naked City Blog
You have heard from many about repairing bridges and highways. You have been receiving many ’shovel-ready’ wish lists of projects. Big highway projects are rarely shovel-ready; there will always be legitimate environmental and political hurdles to overcome, requiring robust public debate.
However, there are many small-scale projects that require little or no red tape, provide tremendous benefit/cost, and create the greatest number of local jobs per dollar spent: sidewalk repair, infill and construction, and bringing existing sidewalks up to ADA compliance. Sidewalk projects provide many economic benefits for communities large and small:* Most of the sidewalk cost is labor (60-80%);* The labor force is usually local; the bulk of the materials (sand and gravel) can be found locally too;* The wages are living wages, but not too high for financially strapped communities;* The minimal amount of design needed can be done in-house or by small local engineering firms. * Local small contractors can perform the work;* This provides work for small contractors hurt by the housing downturn, as they are doing less small concrete work for house foundations, driveways etc.;* These are opportunities to make good use of existing incentive programs such as Emerging Small Businesses, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority-Owned Businesses;* But most important are the positive results for the community:* Sidewalks improve property values, make it easier to walk for short local trips, reduce municipal liability for trip and fall injuries, and help make the transportation system accessible to all pedestrians, including those the Americans with Disabilities Act was intended to help bring into the mainstream.
The backlog of sidewalk infill and repair is huge in most cities. When I worked as Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation, I managed a small grant program (approximately $3,000,000/year statewide) that funded sidewalk infill projects. Every year we had to turn away many worthy applicants, as the requests exceeded available funds at a 5:1 ratio.

[Note: PennDOT's Safe Routes to School website states that $56 million in requested pedestrian infrastructure funds were requested in 2008 -- but only $12 million is available in this round of funding. That means that $44 million worth of pedestrian and bicycle projects were submitted to PennDOT -- but were NOT included in our list of shovel ready projects. WHY?]

PA Bikes and Walks

PA Bikes and Walks - A Virtual State Advocacy Group

PA Bikes and Walks is a statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocacy Group. The group advocates for livable, complete streets and for the protection of vulnerable road users.

The Livable Streets Network is hosting the group site

We also have a second group site on Facebook.

We are hoping to connect with everyone else in Pennsylvania who wants better biking and walking conditions. We are eager to support what you are doing as much as we are interested in helping you get things done. So -- if you're visiting from another organization or are interested in creating an organization -- take a look at our Virtual State Advocacy Group. We'd love to have you!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Safe Routes to School Newsletter

Please visit view the SRTS National Partnership’s January 2009 E-newsletter.List of E-News Stories:1. 2nd Safe Routes to School Conference Call for Proposals2. 2009 National Bike Summit, March 10-12 in Washington, DC3. SRTSNP Welcomes Our Newest National Partners4. Federal Update - Stimulus Bill, Transportation, Climate, and School Siting5. President-Elect Obama Selects Ray LaHood for Transportation Secretary6. New CDC Report Shows Prevalence of Childhood Bike/Ped Injuries7. Safe Routes to School State Network Project Update8. Colorado SRTS Receives Thirty-Nine Applications in 4th Application Cycle9. Maine’s SRTS Program Expanding10. SRTS News Throughout the CountryBest,Brooke DriesseProgram AssociateSafe Routes to School National Partnership

Streetfilms -- thanks for sharing

We just wanted to remind you that you all are welcome to view Streetfilms at any time. To date, there are almost 200 Streetfilms to choose from, shot in more than two dozen cities, treating all kinds of concepts. They might be useful to illustrate livable streets to neighbors, government officials, business people, or fellow non-profits. You can view all Streetfilms videos at .

Clarence Eckerson, leader of the Streetfilms team, suggested these:


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bicycle Commuter Vouchers

Finally - the details we've all been waiting for!

Find this post on the Philadelphia Bicycle News blog: (Thanks BCGP!)

Here is the program in a nutshell from the website:
"We offer the Commuter Check for Bicycling voucher which makes participation a breeze. Your employer will first need to choose to offer the benefit (pre-tax deduction or an employer subsidy). Once you sign up with your employer to get the benefit, take the voucher you receive to any dedicated bicycle shop or bicycle parking or storage location to redeem your value. If your purchase is greater than the amount of the voucher you have, you can use multiple vouchers or add value with another credit/debit card."

There is an contact form for the Human Resources person at your workplace:

You can also have them call 1-800-531-2828
Accor Services USA (ASUSA) has added some additional guidelines for the program.

1. The voucher will be available for customers nationwide beginning in March, exclusively through

2. The maximum value will be $20; vouchers will be valid for 13 months.

3. These vouchers will be able to be used for the purchase of bicycles, bicycle accessories, maintenance, and storage. Bicycle accessories include pumps, locks, racks, lights, and safety gear but do not include clothing and food products such as energy bars.

4. The bike shop or service provider must be registered with ASUSA to accept the vouchers. The League of American Bicyclists and the National Bicycle Dealers Association are working on outreach to the shops.

For more information about the Commuter Benefit program visit the League of American Bicyclists website.