Bad Bill for Biking

New Jersey transportation groups issue Federal Transportation Bill Statement after conference bill details released.

“Despite a dramatic increase in bicycle and pedestrian commuters in Trenton and other New Jersey communities, the federal transportation bill heads in the wrong direction on bicycle and pedestrian funding. We should be replicating Safe Routes to School programs at almost every school in the country, and increasing the amount of money dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian projects. Unfortunately, despite widespread grassroots support for such policies, Congress has offered a bad bill that takes us in the opposite direction.”
Dan Fatton, Chairperson, Trenton Cycling Revolution

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Complete Streets for Trenton

Trenton Cycling Revolution was proud to sign on to this community letter of support, urging the Mayor and City Council to enact a Complete Streets policy here in our city.

More than 30% of our city’s households do not own a car at all. Trenton has an active bicycling and pedestrian culture, with many residents biking or walking to work, to school or simply for leisure. Unfortunately, the road conditions in Trenton are not always ideal for walking and bicycling: crosswalks are poorly marked, the bike lane system is fragmented, and maintenance is spotty, but the city is well-positioned to capitalize on its traditional grid network.

Particularly as a group of residents dedicated to creating a safe and healthy environment for bicyclists in Trenton, we urge swift action!

Bicycle and pedestrian improvements can improve the economy of Trenton by making the city safer and more accommodating for residents, as well as tourists. These improvements will help make it easier for Trenton’s kids to get active. Nearly 1 in 2 Trenton children is overweight or obese!

Please help enact a Complete Streets now! Make our streets safer for everyone and let’s get more residents using bicycles for transportation.

 

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Bike friendly cities are less obese

by A.K. Streeter, Portland, Oregon on 08.23.10 GRIST

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Photo credit  Kiwi Flickr.

Cars make you fat. That’s more or less the message noted researcher John Pucher has tirelessly delivered, making the case for cycling and walking – “active transportation” – as a way for cities to deal with creeping obesity rates and climbing health costs. Now, in a new analysis of U.S., European, and Australian cities, Pucher and his colleagues press the point home even a little further by showing that cities with the highest percentage of trips by foot and by bike have the lowest levels of obese (and even diabetic) adults.

“Among the 14 countries in our international comparison, those with higher levels of walking and cycling tended to have lower levels of adult obesity, whether self reported or clinically measured.” – John Pucher, PhD, Ralph Buehler, PhD, David R. Bassett, PhD, and Andrew L. Dannenberg, MD, MPH

The same relationship held true in the U.S.

In our comparison of all 50 US states and 47 of the largest 50 US cities, we found that higher rates of walking and cycling to work were associated with a higher percentage of adults who achieved recommended levels of physical activity, a lower percentage of adults with obesity, and a lower percentage of adults with diabetes.

Pucher and his colleagues note that the results of their study are not enough to prove active transportation can cause improved health, but should be viewed along with the other evidence piling up that show the health benefits of active travel.

This may all seem somewhat self evident, and yet, the bicycle is not viewed by the majority of Americans as a transportation tool. This is due to decades of considering the cycling as a pastime or a sport, and not as the handy (and healthier) city transportation device it can truly be.

Pucher et al do say that encouraging both walking and cycling will require a bigger build out of the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure than has thus far occurred in the U.S., as well as further restrictions on car use and other traffic calming measures.

While that is already happening in some cities, most notably New York, there are still giant hurdles, including the fact that transportation planners depend on federal money which is still skewed towards car-based infrastructure projects, and inexpensive but vital bike and ped projects are unable to be financed from federal pots.

Let’s work to make Trenton more bike friendly and decrease obesity at the same time!

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