Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Study finds bipartisan support of biking infrastructure
Democrats and Republicans believe in bikes.
DENTON Getting Democrats and Republicans to find political harmony on any issue is no easy task, but according to a recent poll, there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on: bikes.
The national Princeton-conducted survey, commissioned by the advocacy group America Bikes, found that 80 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats, as well as 83 percent of all respondents, supported maintaining or increasing federal funding for bike paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks.
“What I found most significant from the survey was that 12 percent of all trips [Americans take] are either biking or walking, but only 2 percent of the Congress budget for transportation goes to bicyclists and pedestrians,” said music composition senior Christopher Walker, who writes for the bicycle advocacy group Bike Denton.
In July, the U.S. Congress passed a transportation bill that cut federal funding for bike and pedestrian paths by about 30 percent, according to America Bikes. How the funds are used is left mostly in the hands of local and statewide policymakers.
Walker said he supports increased funding for bike infrastructure both nationally and locally. He and other Bike Denton members have been vocal in their support of local infrastructure improvements at city council meetings.
The Denton City Council showed its support for bicyclists by updating the city’s pedestrian and bicycle plan in February. The plan calls for the redesign of more than 80 miles of roadway over the next 10 years to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.
The first year of the plan will cost about $200,000, funded by the city and two county commissioners.
The city will provide better connectivity between education centers, commercial restaurants and retail, recreational areas, and neighborhoods, according to the implementation plan. Improving the connectivity and bike accessibility around UNT’s main campus, Apogee Stadium, and Discovery Park is also a focus of the plan.
“I’m definitely in favor of creating more bike lanes in Denton,” history senior Troy Stewart said. “It would be nicer if they added bike lanes on the streets perpendicular to Hickory [Street], and other streets around campus like Eagle [Drive] and Avenue C. I might even bike to University if they improved the bike lanes in that area.”
Increasing bike accessibility on Oak and Hickory streets are current priorities of the city, according to the plan. However, no significant improvements in bike connectivity have taken place under the project yet, Walker said.
“The bike plan was approved and is all set, the money is there,” he said. “People thought stuff would start happening, but the implementation has been a much slower process.”
The city’s implementation plan does not include a start date or schedule but states that the changes should be complete within 10 years.
For more information on the poll, visit americabikes.org.
To see Denton’s bike plan, visit cityofdenton.com.
Pegasus News Content partner - North Texas Daily
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