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The Sound of Ideas

Prioritizing the Power of the Pedal

Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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Prioritizing the Power of the Pedal U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood raised a lot of eyebrows this spring when he declared that bicycling and walking deserve a bigger share of government transportation dollars. Some called him crazy, an Ohio congressman suggested he was on drugs. And biking advocates all cheered. Tuesday morning, Secretary LaHood and others on what the DOT's new priorities could mean for Ohio; plus, an update on the much-anticipated Cleveland leg of Ohio's towpath trail.


Environment, Government/Politics, Other, Transportation


Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Lois Moss, founder Cleveland Walk & Roll
Tim Blumenthal, executive director, Bikes Belong Coalition
Tim Donovan, executive director, Ohio Canal Corridor

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Brian Griggs 8:03 AM 6/15/10

Thank you Secretary LaHood for taking the bold step of strongly supporting cycling and walking as a valid mode of transportation. Anything we can do to normalize cycling and walking can only have positive effects on the health and fitness of our citizens and our environment.

Stephen Metzler 8:10 AM 6/15/10

We really need to push to ensure we get the funds and resources to complete the tow path trail so it is open from Akron to Lake Erie.  We also need to have more mountain bike trails open in NE Ohio.

Matt Jenkins 8:15 AM 6/15/10

I just rode my bike from Ohio to NYC via the Pennsylvania DOT bicycle route V. This route is one of many that cross the state designated by the DOT. My objection to Ohio’s bike routes are that most are either short “bike paths” or bike routes that travel a few miles and end abruptly. When will Ohio begin to develop bicycle routes that connect towns and facilitate bicycle tourism?

David Jurca 8:16 AM 6/15/10

Vancouver prioritizes transportation funding as follows: 1.Walking 2.Biking 3.Transit 4.Good movement 5.Single-occupancy vehicles (http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/plan/pdf/trans-plan-brochure.pdf) This is 21st century thinking. “State-of-the-art freeway system” is an oxymoron. Freeways solely for automobiles are 60 year old technology. When will Ohio recognize that we are being left in the dust?

David Kleinman 8:32 AM 6/15/10

Where to start?  Every time a road is planned for resurfacing or upgrading, include bike lanes.

Secondly, people need to realize that ALL transportation is government subsidized from highways to airports to trains.

Keep up the great work Lois.

Don 8:35 AM 6/15/10

I am a civil engineer here in Cleveland, and while I am all about biking and walking and really the over all reduction of vehicle traffic some of the ideas being thrown out are just not feasible.  For instance putting a bike lane on the interbelt will add a lot of cost to the project, and no one rides their bikes on highways.  It’s just plain dangerous.

Steven Greer 8:41 AM 6/15/10

Realistically, how involved do you think people in our
society will get (biking and walking) when we still embrace to a great extent a “time is money” and rat race mentality. I personally hope to see a shift, but it seems there needs to be a huge shift in priorities (health and family vs money and prestige)

lmcshane 8:43 AM 6/15/10

Thank you for this program.  I hope Ohio can follow Oregon’s lead in so many ways.

Tom Bullock, Lakewood City Council 8:54 AM 6/15/10

Lakewood is a city naturally laid out to be bicycle-friendly, and we hosted one of the regions first Walk & Roll events. Yet we still have much to do to realize our potential for broader cycling and walking. We will soon work on a comprehensive citywide plan as a first step to more bike parking, connecting with trails on Lakewood’s borders, improving traffic signs, and strengthening safety.

dave- from cleveland 8:55 AM 6/15/10

I am very frustrated that we all have to wait for the property ownership issues finished before any work can be done on finishing the towpath. Couldn’t volunteers start working now, so the work could move ahead while the legal work gets done?

john thesken 8:58 AM 6/15/10

One of your guests mentioned that Rocky River for now has trailed the west side communities in developing bike friendly roads with dedicated lanes.
Why is this when Rocky River is well suited for such development and what can residents of Rocky River do to turn this around?

Bill Snow 9:05 AM 6/15/10

The Ohio Bicycle Federation (www.ohiobike.org) has worked to make bicycling safer and more accessable in Ohio.  The Safe Passing Bill (S.B. 174) calls for at least a three foot distance when passing a bicyclist and is currently in commitee.  Read the bill at http://bit.ly/9wqHvR

Mary Dunbar 9:25 AM 6/15/10

With support and input from people in Cleveland Heights City Government, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, neighboring communities and citizens, I applied in February for Cleveland Heights to be considered a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.  We got Honorable Mention, which means we have a solid base on which to build for an award in the next year or two.  For example, based on 2000 Census data, Cleveland Heights already ranked in the top 10% nationally for residents using bicycles for commuting.  Cleveland Heights has wheelchair accessible sidewalks and quiet residential streets, making it easy to reach our business districts, schools, churches and recreational facilities such as Cumberland pool or Community Center without using a car.  Now we are forming a Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition to accelerate bicycle friendly changes already under way in Cleveland Heights.  We’ll be promoting sharrow signs painted on Lee Road in the Cedar-Lee area and probably on Edgehill Road connecting with University Circle.  Look for bicycle lanes on North Park when it is repaved.  We want to start Safe Routes to Schools in our City.  Please join us and help us achieve our goals.  Sign up on our Facebook page, and watch for our Web site, which will launch soon.

Lois Moss 10:36 AM 6/15/10

Re: John’s question.  Let your state and local elected officials know you want better facilities for biking and walking.  From what I heard on the grapevine, one or more top decision makers in RR felt that the citizens didn’t want bicycle lanes because they didn’t hear from bike/ped supporters at public meetings so they haven’t included them in street reconstruction projects.  When I heard that comment, I talked to some staff and customers at Century Cycles (which is located in RR) and none of them even knew there had been public meetings about the street projects.  Like so many things in this world, it boils down to communication.  Let your local officials know you want streets that are good for all users, including cyclists, pedestrians, families, the disabled and the elderly.

AW 10:39 AM 6/15/10

Let’s WIDEN not all our pavement but rather all our THINKING:
There are a lot more & better (more convenient, safer, cheaper, greener)
ways to get around than just 3 narrow concepts of individualist driving, biking, & walking.
Engineering-wise, there is a galaxy of possibilities between the bicycle and the car.
For example, vehicles on the scale of golf carts,
that are either human-powered or engine-powered,
that pull one or two trailers similar to sightseeing trains,
that are easy for hopping on and off with children, luggage, strollers, walkers, bikes, etc.,
with roofs that shelter against rain and snow.

K M 5:20 PM 6/15/10

Please remember that bicyclists are REQUIRED by Ohio law to abide by ALL traffic laws, including but not limited to . . . 1) Stopping at all stop signs and red lights 2) Using hand signals to execute turns and stops, and 3) Equipping their bike with a bell or horn that is audible at least 100 feet away.  I see very few bikers on Ohio roadways obeying the first two laws mentioned.  If you think you have the right to use the roadway, you also have the responsibility of obeying our laws.

Toni 10:02 AM 6/16/10

@KM. That is not fair. I have been biking for 8 years; and, I do abide by the rules along with many other riders that I ride with. I stop @ all Stop Signs, and I do NOT use an iPod when I ride either. I am very cognizant of my surroundings and a very safe rider. I really can’t speak for everyone but that has been my experience.

Quite frankly, it is this kind of thinking that is putting us behind the curve in sustainable transportation. We need to move forward and accept other modes of transportation, ie bikes, shooters, walking and whatever new thing comes up next. At a meeting last night, there was talk of an enclosed bike contraption which looked doable in Cleveland.

I have to echo what everyone said yesterday. It is educating our communities and signage that bikes have every right to be on our roads. True, they do need to abide by all the laws and I think they can get ticketed if they don’t.

Great Topic, which I think can be further explored.

michael gill 10:48 AM 6/16/10

People say you can’t ride bikes in winter in Cleveland as if it were gospel, and we’re all supposed to nod our heads and relent.

Yet skiers go out in the winter routinely for fun and don’t complain. All you have to do to bike in the winter is put on warm clothes.

Snow in the street is more an issue than cold air, and it’s a very small number of days each year when snow lays in the street.


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