Bike To Work Day celebrates transportation
One of the first things in my email this morning was a flash-flood alert for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. The alert was for very good reason--the rain had been coming down in torrents here in DC since before dawn. But I was not about to let a little weather keep me from greeting the bicyclists who braved the rain on my first Bike To Work Day since becoming Transportation Secretary!
So I headed to Freedom Plaza, and was amazed to see that bike commuters were really coming out for this event despite the downpour. That's a tribute to their love of commuting by bicycle and also to the growing significance of Bike To Work Day as an annual celebration of bicycling as transportation.
Photos courtesy Matt Kroneberger, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
And it is something worth celebrating. In fact, over the last decade, commuting by bicycle is up more than 60 percent.
We're also seeing better bike infrastructure being built across the country, a lot of it with support from this Department. Here in DC, the District DOT is adding new lanes every year. In Indianapolis, we kicked off a protected lane project just a couple of weeks ago.
That's good news--not just for bicyclists, but for all of us. Because clearly marked bike lanes make life easier for drivers, too. And just as greater demand for bike infrastructure in communities from coast to coast has increased the miles of bike lanes in America, new bike lanes attract new riders. More bike commuters means fewer cars on the road as well, which is good for drivers and for local air quality.
It might also surprise readers to learn that bike infrastructure is good for business. In New York City, for example, businesses in neighborhoods with bike lanes have seen measurable upticks in revenue. And one recent multi-city study shows that--per dollar invested--building bike infrastructure adds more jobs than building roads without bike amenities even though the cost per mile for adding bike resources is significantly lower than for roads.
Now, we know that bicycling isn't for everybody, and features like bike lanes might not be appropriate on every road in every community. But in greater number every day, Americans are showing that they want transportation options, and DOT is ready to do what we can to make that happen. Because transportation isn't just cars; it isn't just airplanes; and it isn't just transit. It's a system, and in that system it's the mix that matters.
That's why the GROW AMERICA bill we sent to Congress a couple of weeks ago supports safety and infrastructure for all modes of surface transportation. And that's why bicyclists as well as motorists, passenger train fans and freight rail workers, transit riders and pedestrians will appreciate what GROW AMERICA does for all of us--for how we get where we need to go as well as for how we keep our economy growing.
So, happy Bike To Work Day to those who are celebrating today; I hope your ride is a safe one!