Complete Streets and bike-partisanship
Representative Steve LaTourette (R- Cleveland suburbs, Ohio) has become the first Republican to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act during this Congress. Thanks in large part to Lois Moss, Walk + Roll Cleveland, and local bike shop owners who have been meeting with the Congressman since he made headlines with comments this spring that appeared to question the benefits of bicycling facilities. Back in April, Representative LaTourette made it clear that he fully supports bicycling, writing on his website, “Nothing has changed my ardent support of bike trails, bike lanes and the right of cyclists to share the road.” Now, with his co-sponsorship of the Complete Streets Act, Rep. LaTourette’s actions are backing up his words in a big way.
Because he is on the prestigious House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, his opinions regarding transportation policy and infrastructure spending are important. “Congressman LaTourette has historically been generally supportive of recreational bicycling; agreeing to co-sponsor Complete Streets demonstrates an understanding that bicycling and walking can also be transportation” said Lois Moss, founder of Walk+Roll Cleveland.
The Complete Streets Act would require transportation agencies to adopt specifically defined Complete Streets policies that within two years and apply them to federally funded transportation projects. Further, according to the Complete Streets website, “the bill directs the US Department of Transportation to develop a mechanism to ensure compliance with the bill and to report to Congress on what State DOTs and MPOs are doing to adopt and implement complete streets policies in accordance with the bill.”
Complete Streets and promoting bicycling need not be a partisan issue. And in the past it has not been. Representative Blumenauer likes to refer to it as bike-partisanship. But we recognize that it can sometimes be difficult to get support from both sides of the aisle these days. And so Rep. LaTourette deserves our thanks and support for being the first Republican to publicly support this bill.