Why bicycle and pedestrian advocacy?
Roads have historically united the American people. The Boston Post Road came into existence in the late 1600’s and the first successful long-distance stagecoach service between New York and Boston was launched in 1783. Moving forward a couple of centuries, the Interstate Highway System connected cities all around our country.
Unfortunately, over the following 50 years, that system of roads that first united us has divided us. In large part, this has been a result of the dominance of the automobile. The roads that were intended for all of us to use are now the domain of just some of us – those in motorized vehicles. Europe went down this same “road” as we did, but at some point, they turned – and we didn’t. Europe re-discovered the fact that there are multiple users of roads and took steps to make the roads available to all.
In the United States, we began to see this happen in recent years in Portland, OR, New York City, Davis, CA and other cities and communities. Patches here and there, but not entire states, nor the whole of the country. The car still rules. The only way that this will change, the only way that our roads will be rightfully designed and built for all users, is through continued advocacy for equal treatment. Roads should be used by all, and that includes pedestrians, bicyclists, mass-transit users, as well as motorized vehicles.
Over one hundred years ago, bicyclists were in the forefront – creating the Good Roads Movement to pave our streets and roads. And now bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, truly all citizens need to join together in the Complete Streets Movement.