Feds Propose to Expand Opportunities for Biking and Walking to Transit

When it comes to infrastructure improvements that encourage more people
to walk or bicycle to transit stations, how long will commuters be
willing to travel? The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has
officially answered that question, proposing a significant expansion of
the rules governing how close bike-ped projects should be to transit in
order to receive government funding.

6a00e551eea4f588340120a5b6138d970b_800wi.jpgThe BikeStation in Washington D.C., which provides parking and services for bicyclists who use transit. (Photo: U.S. DOT)

The FTA’s new rules,
released for public comment on Friday, replace the previous definition
of the so-called "structural envelope" surrounding a transit station.

In
the past, regulators had tended to use 1,500 feet as the distance which
"most people can be expected to safely and conveniently walk to use the
transit service." But the Obama administration, stating plainly that
the current radius is "too short," has proposed expanding it to a
half-mile for pedestrian improvements and three miles for bicycle
projects.

In its explanation of the new proposal, the FTA wrote:

The most successful and useful public
transportation systems have safe and convenient pedestrian access and
provide comfortable waiting areas, all of which encourage greater
use.

Distances beyond the walkshed of public transportation stops and
stations may in fact be within the range of a short bicycle trip.
Providing secure parking and other amenities for bicycles and cyclists
at public transportation stops or stations can be less expensive than
providing parking for automobiles.

The proposed regulation also codifies a U.S. DOT definition of "livability" that Streetsblog Capitol Hill took note of
when it was first mentioned by Transportation Secretary LaHood: "If
people don’t want an automobile, they don’t have to have one."

Public comments on the FTA’s proposal can be filed here.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Coalition of California Advocates Headed to Sacramento to Save Transit

|
Members of a broad coalition hailing from throughout California are headed to Sacramento next week to push policymakers to save transit funding and enact sustainable transportation planning reforms. The Oakland-based transit advocacy group TransForm has amassed about 150 advocates to descend on the capitol for its two-day Transportation Choices Summit, the first known event of its […]

Walk Score Goes Multimodal With the Addition of Transit Score

|
Like much of Manhattan, Streetsblog HQ nets a "Rider’s Paradise" rating from Transit Score. One of the simplest and best tools for promoting walkable development has branched out into the full range of car-free transportation. Walk Score, the website which measures how many neighborhood amenities are within walking distance of a given location, has added […]

Two Action Alerts to Improve Stimulus Package for Transit Today

|
Which one gets the stimulus money? NACTO Action Alert We’ve all been disappointed with the tiny margin of transit funding in the $825 billion Obama stimulus package, what amounts to only 1% of the total, despite the fact that 80% of us live in metropolitan regions and transit ridership is booming.  Meanwhile highway expansion and […]

Will Memphis Rise to the Transit Challenge?

|
A few months ago, I went to Memphis for a wedding. I asked the people at my downtown hotel how I should get to the venue, which was also downtown, on South Main Street. They told me it would be about a ten-minute drive. Which let me know it couldn’t be that far away. The […]