Sunday, July 19, 2009

NVTA bashes bikes

The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (not to be confused with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority) is a transportation advocacy group that supports building more road capacity throughout the DC region. Development of their top priority projects would result in increased suburban sprawl and air pollution. It's no surprise that the group is supported by major developers and their representatives. Their idea of "transportation" does not include bicycles and rarely includes transit. These are their top priority projects:
  • I-66 to six lanes inside the Beltway.
  • Route 28 to eight lanes with limited access between Route 7 and I-66.
  • Right-of-way protection and construction of key segments of the Western Bypass.
  • An Eastern Bypass.
  • The Loudoun County and Tri-County Parkways
They have a history of bashing funding for bicycles. Their representative, Robert Chase, is a regular proponent of road projects at public hearings around the region. His latest tirade (Millions for Bathrooms and Bicycles and Escalators (Oh My!)) is directed at the Transportation Planning Board's decision to increase funding for bike sharing (p. 6) in the region. According to NVTA's Chase, "Proposals to Use Scarce Transportation Dollars for Trivial Purposes Fuel Voter Skepticism at a Time When Voter Support for New Revenue for Well-Documented Needs Is More Important Than Ever."

Bike sharing is one of the most promising transportation ideas being used throughout Europe and is taking hold in North America. It is very popular in Paris and is helping residents replace many short motorized trips with bike trips, reducing congestion and air pollution. In the U.S. half of all trips are a 20 minute or less bike ride and nearly all are currently taken by car.

We think NVTA should stop bashing bikes and consider advocating for the most efficient and least polluting transportation mode ever invented, bicycling.

Read more about TPB's bike sharing decision on The Bike-sharing Blog and at Greater Greater Washington.

[Update July 27] Link to Transportation Planning Board Project Components for TIGER grant application that contains info on the bike sharing application, including a map of proposed coverage.

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