Saturday, December 27, 2014

Foxx Introduces "Safer People, Safer Streets" Campaign

From U.S. DOT's website -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new initiative to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities through a comprehensive approach that addresses infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety and data collection. The 18-month campaign will begin with road safety assessments conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation field offices in every state, and will produce multiple resources to help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation. Secretary Foxx made the announcement at the Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference, the largest gathering of, transportation engineers, city planners and professional bicycle-pedestrian safety advocates and practitioners in the country.

“Safety is our highest priority and that commitment is the same regardless of which form of transportation people choose, including walking and biking,” Secretary Foxx said.  “This initiative is aimed at reversing the recent rise in deaths and injuries among the growing number of Americans who bicycle or walk to work, to reach public transportation and to other important destinations.”

Injuries and fatalities of pedestrian and people bicycling have steadily increased since 2009, at a rate higher than motor vehicle fatalities. From 2011 to 2012, pedestrian deaths rose 6 percent and bicyclist fatalities went up almost 7 percent. [Full story ...]

Poster's note: It's difficult to imagine much coming of this, at least anytime soon. Republicans have repeatedly threatened to reduce or eliminate federal funding for multi-modal projects as frivolous and wasteful. And for at least the next 2 years, they will control both chambers of Congress, including the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Strategies include holding non-motorized transportation funding hostage to other issues, such as the gutting of environmental regulations and support for the Keystone Pipeline.

Bicyclists and pedestrians now account for 17% of traffic fatalities (25% in Delaware), yet the U.S. transportation budget allocates less than 2% funding for non-motorized infrastructure and safety. This gross injustice took another hit with the signing of MAP-21 in 2012. Survey after survey has shown that over 80% of Americans want federal funding for biking and walking. Maybe this is why Congress's approval rating remains at an all time low of 15%.

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