The word is circulating that the State Department of Transportation Commission will consider, among other things meant to cut costs, the prospect of shelving its own 2003 resolution endorsing "Bike-Friendly Streets."
This, of course, would send us into a deep funk, and we've been joining other groups in urging people to write to their commissioners not to fall for this. (That's the Resolution, to the left... )
You can CLICK HERE FOR TO READ EDM22, SCDOT'S "RECIPE" FOR COMPLETE STREETS
Here's a part of the e-mail we sent out today urging people to write to Commissioners to urge that they NOT shelve these important initiatives:
Please join Charleston Moves and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition and write an e-mail or letter to your DOT Commissioner, encouraging him or her to support the value of both the resolution and EDM22. The Commission is comprised of seven members, six of whom are elected by the legislative delegations of each of the state's Transportation Districts. These Transportation Districts coincide with the state's six Congressional Districts. One at-large member is appointed by the Governor.
The DOT Commissioner for much of the tri-county area surrounding Charleston is:
1004 8th Avenue North Extention
Myrtle Beach, SC 2957
Office: (843) 448-8485
Fax: (843) 444-2964
Please also consider sending this same letter or email to
Tee Hooper, Commissioner at-large
Post Office Box 16359
Greenville, South Carolina 29606
Office: (864) 277-9900
Fax: (864) 299-1800
If you do NOT live in the Charleston Area, please click here to go to the information page for the SCDOT Commission
Below you will find a draft of a letter. Feel free to edit it to suit your needs. Then, by snail mail or the internet, send it to the Commissioner(s).
LETTER TO YOUR COMMISSIONER:
As a citizen of South Carolina, I believe that it is crucially important to accomodate pedestrians and cyclists, now and into the future. As you know, there are epidemics obesity and diabetes in South Carolina, epidemics that can be dealt with effectively by encouraging physical exercise. And along with the rest of the nation we must vigorously pursue alternatives to the use of fossil fuel.
I know the state must make drastic cuts, and I know some of this burden falls upon you as a Commissioner of the SCDOT. Belt-tightening means laying less asphalt, putting some road projects "on the shelf" temporarily. But please reject any thought of suspending provisions of the Bicycle-Pedestrian Resolution and EDM22. They codify the ideas embodied in the concept of "Complete Streets," and spell out just how "complete" streets and roads should be built. They are suported by Federal policies.
South Carolina has been praised on the national level for its successes in encouraging walking and bicycling in the past few years, and you and the Commission deserve our thanks and gratitude for your part in this progress. The number of people walking and using bicycles is up, and accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians is down. As more people take more short trips on foot or by bike, the state's medical costs will shrink. Eventually there'll be a positive impact on auto traffic too.
Last year, the League of American Bicyclists ranked South Carolina 15th in the nation for bicycle friendliness -- up from bottom-basement ranking the last time the evaluation was made. The Bike/Ped Resolution we're defending helped put us in a closer to the top, in a league with Oregon, California, Illinois and Florida. Great projects like the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston marked our progress and point the way we should take in the future.
But this not just about prestige. It is about our health, about medical costs, about our citizens' transportation needs and thei personal well-being. Not long ago, gasoline prices forced many people to curtail their driving. Now, gas prices are down somewhat but incomes are shrinking and some people are losing their jobs. Once again, many of us are forced to curtail driving. But we still need good roads to get places, no matter what mode of transportation we choose.
We have also learned that when pedestrian and cycling options are included there are benefits that can be measured in dollars -- business dollars, tourism dollars and real estate dollars and revenue dollars.
So, if costs must be cut, don't doom great ideas. Shelve projects, not enlightenment. Please insist that walking and bicycling improvements be incorporated whenever and wherever projects go forward, no matter how much slower this process becomes.
Times are tough, but South Carolina must stay focused on the future. I am grateful for your contributions to this vision in the past. Please help us keep that vision intact for the future.
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