On Monday, March 15th, US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced a new "complete streets" policy that would put planning for bicycling and pedestrians on equal footing with highways and transit. In his blog, Secretary LaHood states that "this is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."
He goes on to say:
We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:
Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
Go beyond minimum design standards.
Collect data on walking and biking trips.
Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.
The new US DOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations are posted on FHWAs website.
What this means for Jacksonville
Under the new federal policy, recently completed automobile oriented projects, such as Main Street, would be discouraged in favor of infrastructure that equally caters to all transportation modes.
We will have to re-evaluate the way we design and approve our streets to better facilitate the growth and redevelopment of livable neighborhoods within our city. With a new federal administration leading the way, look for more regulations and recommendations in the upcoming months to help pull Jacksonville into the 21st century.
News Update by Ennis Davis