cross-posted from TAPPED.
I moved to D.C. for my current job from Connecticut, where I was a reporter for a daily newspaper. The demands of both my job and living in a suburban city dictated that I buy a car. My costs and frustrations went up, my fitness level went down. When looking for housing in D.C., my top criteria was that I would be able to walk to work and ditch the car. Apparently, I’m not alone. As Matthew Yglesias noted about a little nugget in David Brooks‘ column that promoted marriage, the thing that makes people least happy is their commute.
So it’s a relief that Ray LaHood, our transportation secretary, understands there are more ways to get around than driving. In his Q&A yesterday with The New York Times, he said he was just responding to Americans’ desires for alternatives when he called for plans for bikers and walkers to be given the same consideration as plans for drivers.
Sure, the plans aren’t quite the “sea change” he characterized when he first began talking about what the plan would include. But the nicest thing about this administration is how much they recognize where policies should connect and the way housing and transportation should work together.
[A]s we develop our livable and sustainable communities program, biking and walking paths will be a major component of it. And they will get some significant dollars.
Communities that make it safe for people to bike or walk to work are safer (because bike lanes and sidewalks can help calm traffic) and cheaper places to live. People who bike or walk to work are doing good things for their health. And all of that addresses a lot of problems at once.