Mr. Blumenauer goes to New York City to ride bikes
It's not everyday that you get to ride bikes in a big metropolis with a member of Congress, even one who loves to bicycle whenever he can.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer dropped by Transportation Alternatives' offices to take a quick excursion around mid-town with Executive Director, Paul Steely White, and Senior Policy Director, Noah Budnick. They checked out a few standard (painted) bike lanes and some of the newer (physically separated) facilities, of which the latter Mr. Blumenauer thought were superior. Along the way he offered much commentary about the state of biking and livable streets in the nation.
With a new, Congressional transportation bill due to percolate to the surface sometime in the near future, Mr. Blumenauer believes the next decade will be the one when we can finally achieve some balance for pedestrians, bikes, and livable streets. For the sake of our planet, our health, and the green growth of our cities - cheers to that.
Man: [0:00] We are touring New York City with Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a hero to anyone in the United Stats who wants to make cities more livable, more bike-able, more walkable, and it's a pleasure to have him in the big city today. [0:13] We're showing him bike facilities we love and those that we think should be improved. This is Sixth Avenue, which most cyclists would probably agree is not the ideal bike-lane scenario. No protection from traffic and very narrow.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer: [0:40] Riding, coming up here, even though it was a bike lane, it was pretty grim. But as soon as we turned and started down here, changes completely. There's a better sense of safety and security, opportunities to ride two or three abreast, to be able to converse, and it feels different in terms of experiencing what's going on on the street. It also seems to me that we are adding to a sense of comfort for pedestrians, because we pedestrians benefit from this, and it naturally slows traffic. [1:17] New York is kind of the center of the universe of America, for centuries. It's nice to see New York coming back with a new era of cycling and pedestrian access.
Man: [1:33] Earl's been coming to New York more frequently lately. And I think the reason is that he loves to ride his bike, and New York is becoming more bike-friendly, virtually by the day. We started, at Transportation Alternatives, years ago, aspiring to be Portland, looking to Portland for all these great best practices. And now we're to the point in New York where Portland, I think, is actually borrowing from us somewhat, or we're certainly peers now.
Congressman Blumenauer: [1:56] It is fascinating watching the emergence of this movement around the country. There was a time when it was college towns and maybe an outlier like Portland. But now what you're seeing in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, this is a national movement that's taking hold, and cities, large and small, are getting into it.
Man: [2:22] Earl needs no real introduction. But you all know of the wonderful work he did in Portland, when he was a counselor, and then, of course, with the US House of Representatives, one of the key people who steered US transportation policy in the right direction.
Congressman Blumenauer: [2:35] For most of America, New York is our second city. I grew up in the Northwest, right? But I grew up actually watching New York on television, following New York in sports, movies. And so your efforts here, I think, are really having a profound effect on showing that you can take these principles and take them anywhere, and you're doing so in a way that's extraordinarily sophisticated. And you now have a city administration that is worthy of the advocacy group. [music]
Congressman Blumenauer: [3:08] The advocates for safe routes to schools, for bike and pedestrian activity, for complete streets, for livability, are gaining traction, and members of Congress are hearing about it from people at home. The new administration is geared up, and I think this is the decade that it's all going to come together.
Man: [3:30] The tide is turning! In fact, the tide has already turned. I think it's just a matter of how quickly we reshape our cities. And with Earl's help, I think we can go much faster here in New York, and all cities can. This next big transportation bill's going to be very important. Will there be enough money in that bill for bicycling and pedestrian facilities? We hope the answer's yes.