Addressing a packed house in Washington last night, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, founder of the Congressional Bike Caucus, posed a Zen-like ‘universalist cyclist question’.
"How many people, right now," he asked, "are stuck in traffic on their way to ride a stationary bike in a health club?"
The quip got a big laugh. But at yesterday’s launch of Cities for Cycling,
a new project spearheaded by the National Association of City
Transportation Officials (NACTO), Blumenauer urged fellow cyclists to
consider their cause "serious business."
The mission of C4C,
as outlined by NACTO President Janette Sadik-Khan, is to collect and
share best practices for the introduction of local bike lanes and other
cycling infrastructure — the type of strategies that have succeeded in
cities but not yet been added to the Federal Highway Administration’s
traffic control manual, also known as the MUTCD.
of the most celebrated and popular [bike] improvements are not even in
the national guidelines," Sadik-Khan explained, adding that C4C
ultimately aims to help develop "a new MUTCD, designed for cities, not
The C4C kickoff,
held in the shadow of the Capitol and sponsored by the Brookings
Institution, was imbued with a sense of hope for future federal and
local policies to encourage bicycling expansion. The Obama
administration had a strong presence in the room, including Federal
Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, befitting its public push for more sustainable community development.
Blumenauer and Sadik-Khan emphasized that bolstering the uneven federal
commitment to bicycling, and its urban benefits in particular, would
require hard work and political organizing on the part of bike