I sent the following message to my representative after considering this League of American Bicyclists Action Alert.

Dear Representative Kirk:

I am sure you have received the May 14th “Dear Colleague” letter from fellow Illinois Congressman Daniel Lipinski asking that you sign on to his policy memo to Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Jim Oberstar, Ranking Member John Mica, Highway and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Pete DeFazio and Ranking Member Jimmy Duncan, urging fair financial support for bicycle and other “active” transportation modes in the upcoming surface transportation authorization bill.

As your constituent and as a regular bicycle commuter, I urge you to sign Representative Lipinski’s letter, which wisely calls for transportationg funding legislation supporting a “Complete Streets” policy requiring new roads to be design with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind; for an integrated intermodal transportation system via coordinated interconnection of sidewalks, bicycle paths, and public transit to create a safe and efficient transportation network for nonmotorized traffic; and for increased funding for the Safe Routes to Schools program to provide our nation’s students with safe streets and sidewalks on which to bicycle and walk to school.

As a nation, we must recognize that the automobile is not our only transportation option and create an integrated transportation system that serves our long-term best interests. Investments in active transportation projects have multiple benefits:

  • Sidewalks, pathways, and bike lanes create traffic patterns favoring downtowns as destinations for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Building pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure helps local businesses and is an investment in local economies.
  • Active transportation promotes energy efficiency, stronger communities, and healthier citizens. It decreases greenhouse gas and other pollution, traffic congestion, suburban sprawl, and dependence upon oil from corrupt, totalitarian states.

I believe that going forward, our new investments should heavily favor making viable for more Americans healthier, less polluting, and more energy-efficient transportation. As a regular bicycle commuter, I know first hand the value of having a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trail within a block of both my home and office. I am further fortunate enough to live within walking distance of commuter rail service, giving me a public transportation alternative when bicycling is not viable. We must use our transportation funds to open these transportation alternatives to the majority of our citizens, rather than a fortunate few. We must increase investments in beneficial alternatives to our current automobile-centric system in order to direct future growth in a healthier and more sustainable direction.

Thank you for signing on to Congressman Lipinski’s policy letter supporting a fair role for non-motorized options in our nation’s transportation infrastructure.