If You Build It, They Will Come: The Future of Bicycle Infrastructure

Recently, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a ‘sea change’ in transportation policy: making bicycling as important as driving. LaHood’s statement is representative of what the American people want; alternatives to car transportation and a sustainable future.

But many communities want the opportunity on the weekends and during the week to have the chance to bike to work, to bike to the store, to spend time with their family on a bike. So, this is not just Ray LaHood’s agenda, this is the American agenda that the American people want for alternatives to the automobile.

What’s happened around America is people are buying bikes and they’re using them for recreational purposes on the weekend and there’s no better family way for people to spend a weekend than riding their bikes on these biking trails.

-Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary

In his interview on NPR’s All Things Considered last week, LaHood spoke of the initial investment we made in our advanced highway system over 50 years ago, and how if the same energy was put towards any other mode of transit, we would be connected in a variety of ways. Shifting attention towards alternative forms of transit can help provide options for everyone.

With an increase in bicycle transportation, we can see a decrease in the number of cars on the road, thus alleviated congestion along crowded vehicular corridors, providing a win-win for both modes of transportation. Less than 10% of the country uses bicycles as a primary mode of transit, but as we increase bicycle facilities, these numbers will continue to rise.

We know that 90 percent of the people aren’t going to be cycling to work, but that opportunity and that option and that kind of alternative is something we think people want.

-Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary

The mentality of “if you build it they will come” can be directly applied to the future of bicycle infrastructure throughout our country. Here at the Coalition, we are working to make projects like this a reality in SLO County, join in our efforts by becoming a member of the Coalition or volunteering for our events throughout the year.

An image showing the same number of people in single occupancy vehicles, a bus and bicycles. Look how much less space the bicycles take than the cars!

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