Marc Lefkowitz | 03/04/08 @ 1:29pm
Is America finally prepared to kick its dependence on foreign oil?
A new poll suggests that Americans are concerned that "dependency on oil" is the number one issue the nation must address, above "jobs and the economy" and the war in Iraq. The poll supports findings of a new, important report from The National Surface Transportation Study Commission that concluded our present national policy of spending billions on more highways and bridges to nowhere is no longer sustainable.
One path out of our transportation cul-de-sac was proposed today by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) who wants to refocus our investment priorities and help Americans who live close to work or shop get there by biking or walking safely on our streets. Harkin introduced The Complete Streets Act of 2008 to "promote the design of streets that are safe for all."
Complete Streets policies are already effectively working in Boulder, Chicago, Massachusetts and elsewhere.
Underpinning the oil security connection to improving the conditions for cycling and walking, a recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that providing more travel options, including public transportation, bicycling and walking facilities, is an important element in reducing traffic congestion. The study reported that congestion was responsible for an annual $78.2 billion loss in fuel during traffic jams in 2005, an increase from $57.6 billion in 2000.
Harkin's proposal has been endorsed by: AARP, America Bikes, America Walks, American Council of the Blind, American Planning Association, American Public Transportation Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, League of America Bicyclists, National Center for Bicycling and Walking, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Smart Growth America, Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Thunderhead Alliance, and Rails to Trails Conservancy.