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The return of the Good Roads Movement

The League has a proud and rich history of working for better bicycling. Founded in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen, the organization launched the Good Roads Movement that helped get quality paved roads around the country. We continue this work 130 years later still fighting for better roads and conditions for cycling.

We were delighted to see our colleagues at San Francisco Bicycle Coalition use the same simple message that launched the bicycling movement in our country for one of their latest campaigns. Their Good Roads Campaign seeks to enlist members and other SF cyclists to help them report potholes and other street defects through the city’s 311 campaign. The SFBC has conducted an audit of some of the worst pavement conditions in the city and monitors the pavement resurfacing schedule to ensure key bicycling corridors are prioritized.

We support these efforts. In fact, one of the many questions in our Bicycle Friendly Community application asks about the existence of a reporting mechanism for roads in need of repair. Lack of one is a regular part of feedback to applying communities. The Website uses social media and new technology for this type of reporting. Citizens in cities like Omaha, NE and Milwaukee, WI are using this to capture maintenance issues. The site even allows communities to compete against others.  On a national level the Complete Streets Coalition’s, Transportation for America’s and even the Sierra Club’s philosophy of ‘fix-it-first’ are extensions of the spirit of the original movement.

As winter approaches with its cycle of freezing and thawing moisture that leads to deterioration of pavement, now is the time for advocates, bike clubs and every day cyclists to learn how to report problems in their community in preparation for springtime’s pothole repair and road resurfacing. We all have to work to help make sure the good roads that have been created remain that way.

good roads bulletin

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