Last week Secretary of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood shook up the world of transit with a post on his blog announcing a pretty monumental change to transportation policy — for the first time ever the U.S. government will stop favoring the car over bicyclists and pedestrians when funding infrastructure projects.

LaHood wrote:

People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

The Department of Transportation will encourage state DOT and communities to put walking and biking on an equal level with motorized traffic when planning projects, to plan for riders and walkers of all ages and physical abilities, to go above and beyond minimum design standards, to gather data on walking and bike trips, to maintain sidewalks and bike paths the same way roads are (think snow removal), and to upgrade their walking and bike paths

LaHood goes on to mention how the Obama administartion has funded major bicycle projects in Indianapolis and in the Philadelphia-Camden-Trenton region.

I'm kind of giddy that the following statement was made by the secretary of Transportation and not some frustrated green blogger verbally smacking his forehead at the shortsightedness of always putting cars first:

Look, bike projects are relatively fast and inexpensive to build and are environmentally sustainable; they reduce travel costs, dramatically improve safety and public health, and reconnect citizens with their communities.
Here's a short video of LaHood speaking to a boisterous crowd at the National Bike Summit.

This is fantastic. And can I say, as a blogger, it's just as cool that he chose to release this news with his blog.

Read more about bikes and transportation here on MNN:

America needs more bike racks

12 reasons to start using a bicycle for transportation

How to buy a great used bicycle

Bike culture revitalizes NYC communities

Bicycle parking would entice more people to ditch their cars

What bikes are ideal for a daily commute?

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