From the Hartford Courant, 01.09.08:
Federal transportation legislation passed in the 1990s called for the integration of bicycling and walking into the transportation mainstream. Agencies were directed to accommodate walking and biking as "a routine part of their planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance activities."Strongly reasoned editorial arguing for more action from Connecticut transportation officials on bike paths. So called "recreational" bike paths inevitably become important bike commuting corridors.
It is remarkable how little progress Connecticut has made on this policy.
When challenged on this, DOT people have taken the position that biking and walking are recreation, not transportation. On the Canal trail, we funded a laser counter that recorded trail users at one piece of the system in Simsbury. From November 2006 to November 2007 it counted more than 110,000 individual visits with an overall gross traffic count of 167,424. It stretches credulity that this safe, multi-use trail linking Farmington Valley towns is not being used for commuting and short trips apart from recreation.
The state is in the process of selecting a new DOT commissioner. One test should be the understanding that biking and walking are not merely recreational activities, but integral parts of a well-balanced transportation system. There is irrefutable evidence that where trails have been built, commuting by bicycle has increased enormously. To put it succinctly, there is demand.(Read more.)
Image: Jeffrey Beall/Flickr.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site