ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION NEWSLETTER
Welcome to the first edition of the Active Transportation Newsletter! You are receiving this newsletter because of your contact with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy regarding the 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation.
The 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation aims to double federal funding for trails, biking and walking by 2010, with an emphasis on securing focused investments in active transportation for at least 40 U.S. communities. Those communities that seize a lead role in this campaign will elevate trails, biking and walking as local transportation priorities, and be in the vanguard of a national movement to make active transportation a mainstream mobility option.
Through these monthly newsletters, you will:
- stay up-to-date on campaign activities such as our national conference in Portland, August 8-10;
- learn best practices from other communities (including the four non-motorized pilot projects);
- have opportunities to share your experiences with others;
- hear about new research findings, and;
- receive tips about how best to conduct your local campaigns.
We hope these newsletters are helpful in your work. If there's something you'd like to see in a future issue, please don't hesitate to tell us!
Contents of this issue:
- TrailLink 2007 in Portland, Ore., With Ron Sims and Earl Blumenauer
- Nonmotorized Transportation: SAFETEA-LU’s Pilot Communities
- Transportation Enhancements and Rescissions (With a free case studies download)
- The Best of the Worst: Send us your scariest transportation pictures!
1. TrailLink 2007, August 8-10, Portland, Ore.
Hikers on a trail in Portland.
TrailLink 2007 will launch a national campaign to elevate trails, biking and walking as essential transportation priorities and give you the tools to champion active transportation in your community. Expert panels on the benefits of active transportation will arm you with cutting-edge research, best practices and focused reasoning to make highly persuasive arguments for your priorities. Attendees will also hone their strategies for engaging political decision-makers, and participate in mobile workshops exploring Portland's world-renowned active transportation infrastructure.
Download a registration form and prepare yourself for a truly inspiring conference.
Opening Plenary Speaker
Washington’s King County Executive Ron Sims
Ron Sims has exerted bold and creative leadership in promoting multi-purpose trails in the Seattle-metropolitan region. He will kick off the conference with an informative and engaging look at how trail systems help build vital communities and why community-based leadership will drive the active transportation movement.
Closing Plenary Speaker
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)
Congressman Earl Blumenauer has championed trails, biking and walking with boundless energy and vision in Portland and nationally. Congressman Blumenauer will address how participants can be effective advocates in communities and in Congress, and provide the perfect send-off for the mobile workshops showcasing Portland’s exemplary active transportation infrastructure and policies.
2. Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program
Inline skaters in Minneapolis, MN — one of the NTPP communities.
Congress’ 2005 transportation bill SAFETEA-LU includes funding for the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP), distributing $25 million to each of four communities over four years to improve bicycle and pedestrian mode shift in these communities.
These communities are working to demonstrate that mode shift can be realized through targeted improvements in bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The NTPP will pave the way for our 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation, aiming to provide communities across the country with focused funding for trails, walking and biking.
Each NTPP community has a Web site (Columbia, Mo., Sheboygan, Wis., Marin County, Calif., and Minneapolis, Minn.), with information on local efforts and progress. Keep an eye out in upcoming newsletters for more on each community’s progress and plans.
3. Transportation Enhancements
Transportation Enhancements funds a wide variety of community projects.
In 2006, U.S. Department of Transportation issued three congressionally mandated orders for states to forfeit a total of $3.8 billion in unspent transportation funds. States forfeited more than $600 million from unobligated Transportation Enhancements (TE) funds, the nation’s largest funding program for trails, walking and biking. TE is in danger yet again as states scrambled to meet yesterday’s deadline to specify their shares of cuts under a $3.47 billion rescission order. Further rescission orders are likely.
Some states argue that rescission of unobligated TE balances of past years does not matter. However, TE rescissions signal a chronic pattern of significant underinvestment in active transportation. Forfeiting these funds reflects a historical failure to treat trails, biking and walking as transportation priorities, and a lost opportunity to remedy the situation.
The cuts to TE in 2006 were six-times greater than the sum of all previous rescissions since the program's inception in 1992; eliminating the equivalent of nine months of funding nationwide. Twelve states cut more than one year’s funding, while 19 states did not take a penny from TE. [See a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy report on TE and rescissions.] RTC worked to defend TE during the most recent rescission order by writing to governors and asking online supporters and activists to do the same. Many states responded by indicating that they will not meet the current rescission at the expense of TE.
This rescission galvanized individuals across the country in support of TE. Opportunities abound to catalyze this energy into a force to advocate for active transportation.
Of particular importance to active transportation community partners is the just-published Enhancing America’s Cities: A Guide to Transportation Enhancements. This inspiring collection of case studies demonstrates the potency of Transportation Enhancements for communities.
4. The Best of the Worst
Why do you need active transportation in your community?
Demonstrate the need to improve walking and biking systems in your community through the power of pictures!
Do you have images of trails or sidewalks with tree roots pushing through? Pedestrians waiting to cross a busy street? A cyclist caught in heavy traffic? Please e-mail your scariest (high-resolution) pictures of the need for bicycle and pedestrian funding to email@example.com to show Congress why this funding is desperately needed.
We’ll feature the “best” (read: worst!) of these pictures in next month’s Active Transportation Newsletter.*
* By sending us your photographs for “The Best and the Worst” you grant to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) permission to use them in our publications, including but not limited to the Web site. Please be sure to include your name as you wish it to appear in photo credits.
We hope this newsletter was helpful. Please contact your Rails-to-Trails Conservancy community contact with any questions regarding your local 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation.
See you at TrailLink in August!
Photo credits (top to bottom): © Bryce Hall/Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, © Ben Carter/Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, © Brett Poirier, © Jessica Leas