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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Get out of your car and onto a trail

Image of bike path in Mill Valley, CaliforniaFrom the Marin Independent Journal, 11.28.06:

"Marin County has $25 million to spend on traffic congestion by building a network of walking and biking trails. The problem is that county officials and bike advocates have at least $100 million worth of ideas to achieve that goal.

"We totaled the infrastructure costs back in 2001 and came up with $100 million. And we've come up with a number of new projects going forward," said Deb Hubsmith, advocacy director for the 1,500-member Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

"The pilot program will pick the projects most suited to our long-term goal, which is to create a bicycle and pedestrian network that gets people out of their cars," she said."

Cyclists in Marin County are so lucky. Sure there's lots of low-density sprawl and plenty of traffic. But they have great weather, great scenery, great bicycling facilities, and the incredibly effective Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC).

Early this decade, the MCBC successfully lobbied Congress for federal funding to support a pilot Safe Routes to School program, which the coalition used to leverage additional local and state funding. The MCBC's Safe Routes to School pilot program has inspired hundreds of communities to create similar youth cycling education and enhancement efforts.

And the MCBC built on its Safe Routes success, obtaining a $25 million grant--one of four in the entire U.S.--in the 2005 federal surface transportation bill to support Marin’s Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program.

The future is bright for bike commuting in Marin County. It never hurts to ask your Congressperson what they can do to improve bicycling in their district.

Image: Mill Valley Bike Path, courtesy Marin County Bicycle Coalition

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