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Senate Trans bill bad for cyclists, bans biking where trail exists

Senate Trans bill bad for cyclists, bans biking where trail exists … xists.html

Senate Transportation bill is bad for cyclists, bans biking where trail exists

The new Boxer/Inhofe bill making it's way through the Senate right now has a lot for cyclists to dislike. First of all it rolls three key bicycle programs into CMAQ, funds them at a lower level than all the programs combined got last year, and then allows states to spend that money on nothing but roads.

Among the casualties are three key bike-ped programs: Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails. Those programs would be consolidated and listed as “eligible uses” under an $833 million subset of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ). That would represent a sharp drop from the $1.15 billion devoted to those programs in 2010. That year, Transportation Enhancements was funded at $878 million, Safe Routes to School at $183 million, and Recreational Trails at $85 million.

States could also divert their share of the $833 million to projects that add traffic lanes or don’t involve bike and pedestrian infrastructure at all. The bike-ped sub-category of CMAQ spending would be broadened to allow new road construction as an eligible use if the project “enhances connectivity and includes public transportation, pedestrian walkways or bicycle infrastructure.”

But if the effective loss of federal funding isn't enough, there's also the loss of access to federal roads (page 226):

(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road.

Even if the trail is in very bad shape, and the road is perfectly safe, the Secretary will have no leeway to allow cyclists to continue to use the road if a trail is available. This is very bad policy.  Among other things it would end biking on portions of the Rock Creek Parkway where the speed limit is 35 mph.

Not that I think this rule is needed, but it's especially bad to set the limit at 30mph - which is far too low for banning cycling. And 100 yards is a very wide net. A trail that far away serves a very different purpose than a trail just off the road.

The upside is that with no more money for trail building, there won't be any more trails that cyclists will be required to use.

2011 mileage=17,344 miles;2012 mileage=11,414 miles; 2013 mileage=12,169 miles; 2014 mileage=5,156 miles; 2015  mileage=6,200 miles; 2016 mileage=17,503 miles; 2017 mileage=4,454 miles;2018 mileage=6,749 miles;2019 mileage=4,139 miles;

Isaias O'Daniell
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