Posts Tagged ‘Earl Blumenauer’

Videos from the National Bike Summit

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

John from Pedestrians.org recently posted a comment about videos from the National Bike Summit. They really deserve a bit more visibility.

And this probably is the next best thing to being there.

Perhaps the best is of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood:

What a striking improvement over the former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters who tried re-defining “transportation” and “infrastructure” to exclude biking and walking.

Other videos from the Summit include:

You’ll also want to check out this video from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Blumenauer’s breakfast speech beginning at :40 seconds captures a great moment from this event. Congressman Tom Petri of Wisconsin also provides some interesting commentary.

National Bike Summit Breakfast: Day Three

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

img_2189Thursday began with a National Bike Summit breakfast. I took the opportunity to speak briefly with Congressman Earl Blumenauer about biking and walking in Detroit.

I didn’t need to provide much background.

He immediately noted how his cycling city roll-model Portland is different in that it’s a growing city, whereas cities like St. Louis, Detroit, and others are dealing with shrinking populations, jobs, vacant land, and more.

I spoke about the collective effort with the support of Mayor Cockrel to reinvent Detroit as a green city, where biking and walking are a strong component. I noted our non-motorized plan, greenways network vision, and our application for Active Transportation 2010 funding.

He added that we need to make sure our bike solutions at the federal level are not one-size-fits-all.

Although it seemed longer, it was perhaps only a minute of conversation. Still, it was one of the most rewarding minutes during my stint at this summit. It was very good to know that one of the primary congressional leaders in biking and walking advocacy was already on point with urban non-motorized perspectives outside of the Portland’s and Boulder’s of the world.

After our discuss, Congresssman Blumenauer addressed the entire group on his new Multimodal Commuter Credit legislation. It basically addresses some flaws in the current implementation of bike commuter tax credit and provides more flexibility.

Why was the bike commuter act flawed from the start? BikePortland.org asked Blumenauer’s staffer Tyler Frisbee that question.

Frisbee said the reason is that it was passed as part of the financial bailout package, “instead of a more orderly process.”

We reported on this back in October. Blumenauer’s bike commuter bill was added to the bank bailout bill perhaps to garner his vote — it didn’t work. He voted against the bailout and the commuter language was flawed.

Fortunately the Congressman’s commited to correcting these flaws.

National Bike Summit: Day Two

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

img_2159Secretary Ray LaHood

LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation, and although there was some hesitation in the cycling blogosphere when Obama nominated him. After today’s presentation, that hesitation should be gone.

He told the crowd at the opening session that we’ll build on our successes in pedestrian and bicycle promotion. He noted we’re on the verge of making more progress in doing the things America really wants to do. Creating livable communities is becoming the priority.

And finally, he assured us that we have a full partner at the Department of Transportation.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Blumenauer started with the rhetorical question: “How many people right now are stuck in traffic on their way to a health club to ride a stationary bike?”

He added:

  • Families biking are an indicator species for livable communities
  • With Congressman Oberstar chairing the transportation committee, the “table is set for us” when it comes to writing the next transportation bill.
  • We need to be relentlessly bike-partisan. There are no blue or red bikes.
  • There are currently 213 legislators in the bike-partisan caucus. 218 would be a majority — and that’s a Summit goal.
  • The Commuter Choice act will be taken up in this legislative session. The gist is it adds flexibility to the commuter tax benefits and allows the mixing of modes, e.g. biking and transit.
  • New Clean-TEA legislation would set aside 10% of a carbon tax to help communities reduce the carbon-footprint of their transportation, making it more sustainable in the long term. The justification? One-third of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation. ?Cycling and walking can offset that. Clean-TEA would be an amendment to a climate change bill.

Also, Congressman Blumenauer biked to the Summit from the Capitol and was sporting a pant strap.

Congressman Dan Lipinski

Congressman Lipinski touted the fact that he’s not only a cyclist, but a card carrying of the League of American Bicyclists.

Lipinski did warn us that we must remain vigilant as there is still a mindset out there that bikes are not transportation.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui

Congresswoman Matsui spoke about the Complete Streets legislation that is on the verge of being introduced in the House and Senate.

Wise Words from Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

This brief interview with Congressman Earl Blumenauer was recently published in Parade Magazine:

Why care about cycling now?
Right now, the U.S. consumes about 10% of the world’s oil supply just to get back and forth to work. If we are able to reintroduce the bicycle into our communities, we are going to make it easier for people to break our addiction to oil. I have cycled to work in Washington, D.C., for 12 years. I’ve burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Your city—Portland, Oregon —is very bike-friendly. What has worked?
We have expanded the number of bike lanes, established bike routes throughout the city, and turned major streets into “bike boulevards” so there is less through traffic. It’s making a huge difference. People in Portland use their cars much less than the American average. That translates into savings of more than $2500 per year per family. There should be a bicycle master plan for cities large and small.

How do you balance the competing demands of cyclists who want more lanes and drivers who worry about congestion?
It’s not about competition. Cycling actually helps improve traffic flow on roads. If all of those thousands of people who bike every day in Portland were to get back in their cars, we would have more traffic congestion and more frayed nerves. Cycling helps with parking, too—you can fit a dozen bikes in the space one car would take.

Link: A Greener Commute by Meg Massey

President-Elect Obama and Biking

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Much has been written about the recent U.S. presidential election, but one question for us is, “How does this affect federal bicycling funding and policy?”

Earlier this year the bike industry met with Senator Obama:

Stan Day, SRAM’s president, said that Obama “gets it.” He pointed out that Obama understands that bicycles can be part of a solution to issues as diverse as health care, obesity, energy and environmental policy. “He does his homework and he can connect the dots,” he said.

After winning the election, Obama’s team created a web site to discuss his upcoming term, its direction, and policy.  And it does discuss bicycling among its urban policy goals:

Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities: Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.

Yes, he “gets it.”

And, two of the names being bandied about for his Transportation Director are major cycling supporters: Earl Blumenauer and James Oberstar.  Both would be a huge boost for bicycling and Safe Routes to School advocates.

But we shouldn’t forget how absolutely awesome it was having a serious mountain biker in President George W. Bush.  That did wonders for the perception of mountain biking as a sport; it’s not just for young folks.

o how soon before Obama is riding mountain bike trails?  Certainly that question has already been asked at IMBA.

Stay tuned…