Yesterday was a very bad day for bicycling. The transportation bill that emerged from committee drastically reduces Federal funding for bicycling and pedestrian projects and sets active transportation policy back decades. Dedicated Safe Routes to School funding has been eliminated along with the Complete Streets provision for future projects.
You can read statements from Rails to Trails Conservancy here, America Bikes here, and League of American Bicyclists here. Find commentary from Streets Blog here, The Hill here, and Transportation Issues Daily here. The overview of Map-21 is here. The 599-page committee brief is here.
What does this mean for cyclists in Illinois? Cycling initiatives must now compete against other transportation projects at the state level for 50% of the funds that would have automatically been designated for active transportation projects in the past.
Fortunately, Chicago has Transportation Secretary Gabe Klein and the Active Transportation Alliance to fight on our behalf to reclaim these funds. Add the League of Illinois Bicyclists and Trails For Illinois and Illinois cyclists have a strong voice in Springfield. We all need to pitch in and support the lobbying work of these organizations now more than ever before.
I offered an additional, alternative approach to securing funding for bicycling projects in yesterday’s post.
On the local front, I urge residents of Lake County to contact their Forest Preserve District trustee and ask him or her to put an end to the annual extortion request of the Par King Mini Golf and find another solution for the completion of the Des Plaines River Trail.
Here’s what’s happening this week, courtesy of our friends at the chainlink:
Friday, June 29th: Chicago Critical Mass, Daley Plaza
Tuesday, July 3rd: Full Moon Fiasco
Special Mention: Chicago kicks off first-ever Jewish-Muslim Bike Ride, Sunday, July 8th at Downtown Islamic Center. The Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative [JMCBI] and several Jewish and Muslim organizations and bike clubs are partnering to bring a special interfaith bicycle experience to the community. Be part of this historic event!
For a listing of regional events, visit Mike Bentley’s Midwest Bike Rides.
Stay cool, keep hydrated, and be safe!
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