Trails in Indiana

National Bike Summit 2012 Washington, DC. March 20-22

Richard Vonnegut and Mario Vian of the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council joined eleven other Hoosiers, and more than 800 participants at the Grand Embassy Hotel for a noisy and focused gathering of bike believers caught in the swirl of political frenzy over possible funding cuts in reauthorizing the National Transportation Bill.

The conference focused on maintaining the policy status and funding cycle for cycling (and walking, handicapped access) to the national transportation budget.  This element of funding first saw light during the George H. W. Bush administration which started funding these venues for the first time in U. S. history.  (Ironically, it was the League of American Wheelmen in the 1880’s  which first petitioned the government for road funding, before motorized mobility held it hostage.)

Advocacy Corner Transportation Bill Update

From Rails to Trails Conservancy 2012.06.07 national news… U.S. Senate and House conferees are meeting this week to negotiate terms of a new federal transportation policy. They have until the end of June to forge an agreement under the current extension of the old law. There are a wide range of outcomes possible, with substantial reforms to critical trail programs on the table. RTC is working hard to ensure the best possible outcome for the core programs that support building trail systems, including reaching out to constituents of conferees to express their views. We will let you know if there are notable developments! Resounding New Evidence: America Wants Bicycling and Walking in Transportation Future A new national poll finds that 83 percent of all respondents support maintaining or growing the federal funding streams that enable active transportation—sidewalks, bikeways, trails and bike paths.

Making Sense of the National Transportation Budget Issue

 

Confusion seems to be the order of business as legislators line up to make political hay about what’s important and what’s not with respect to the national transportation budget.

For 853 days, Congress has played kick the budget can down the road by repeatedly extending the expired national transportation budget.

The complicated problem of the United States Transportation Budget in 2011: A Brief Overview.


It is no laughing matter.  So much bad information and misinformation and political posturing makes a reasoned analysis of the budget proposals for the United States Transportation tragic.


First of all, many people who know better put a false face on the budget.  People in power claim that highway transportation has all the funding it needs.  After all, it comes from the “user tax,” the federal tax portion of the consumer cost of a gallon of gas at the pump, right?

TRANSPORTATION DEBATE UPDATE

Late last year, we reported that federal transportation budget bill news had stalled. Not so, anymore.

THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BUDGET DEBATE—STILL IN LIMBO

Lately, a void seems to have hit the news on reauthorization of surface transportation funding. No doubt with elections over, there will soon be more to tell, since its latest extension is set to expire at the end of December. Trail builders and proponents watch this process especially, because states have received substantial sums of money for alternative transportation projects through this budget. According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC), Transportation Enhancements, or TE, are the “. . .

Vulnerable Roadway law and the 3 foot law.

In recent weeks, Indiana has experienced an unsettling spike in the reports of bicyclists and pedestrians struck by automobiles. Last week’s crash involving a team of cyclists in Bloomington was only the latest in a string of incidents resulting in everything from minor injuries to fatalities.

Safe Routes to School - Indiana

The Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, Inc, advocates for Safe Routes to School.

 
Safe Routes to School as a national policy began with the passage of SAFETY-LU, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users Act, passed in 2005 under the Bush administration.
 
Childhood obesity and unworkable demands on motorized transport made this law necessary. According to the Federal Highway Safety Administration, fewer that 15 percent of school travel happens by walking or biking, 25 percent by bus and over 50 percent by car.

LaHood Controversy: U.S. National Transportation Policy Ill-Advised?

 Editorial by Mario Vian, Policy Analyst, Hoosier Rails to Trails Council.

 Hoosier Rails to Trails Council recently joined a small cadre at the welcoming of Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood to the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School as part of the national “Safe Routes to School” campaign.

Secretary LaHood caused quite a controversy as he announced a “sea change” in U.S. transportation policy, declaring that national transportation funds should give the same consideration to biking and walking as to motorized transport. This announcement came during the well attended National Bicycle Summit earlier this year.

2010 Purdue Road School Summary (It’s not just for cars anymore)

The 96th Annual Purdue Road School was conducted on March 9 – 11 at the Stewart Center on the Purdue University Campus. Approximately 1500 public agency representatives, elected officials, consultants, students, and members of the public attended to learn about a range of topics pertaining to the nations’, states’, and local transportation systems. Of the over 50 technical sessions that were offered, at least 3 sessions comprising 8 presentations were on topics directly affecting bicyclists and bicycle facilities.

Complete Streets Legislation Aims at Making Streets Friendlier

 Higher gas and oil prices have forced a new urbanization. It makes more sense in every way to make available grocery stores, merchandisers and drug stores, hair cutting salons and others routine services without needing to drive a car or truck to get there.

Urban sprawl with large suburban areas which require automobiles to get to shopping venues like malls and super malls has become less glamorous with the changing economy.

BIKE ACROSS AMERICA 3

Introducing: An Interstate Bike Route System for the United States

 

As more Hoosiers get on board, we may see signs like this.
That’s because a program for national bicycle route designation has started, once again, to take shape. This revived system aims, ultimately, to interconnect the entire country through a system of bicycle routes, promoting fitness, lowering gas emissions and providing new economic opportunities all across the country.
 
This ambitious project began as an idea introduced by a visionary article in American Cycling Magazine, in 1968. “200,000 Mile of Bikeways to Become a Reality within Decade” became the first major media announcement of an ambition to develop a connected network of bikeways across the U.S.

Cycling News from the City of Indianapolis

Right before Christmas, Hoosier Rails to Trails Council interviewed Andy Lutz, Indianapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator (a part of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works). We sought news on what might appear next for Indianapolis, our headquarters and Indiana’s most populous city, on the heels of the latest striping of a bicycle lane on the city’s northeast side.

Indiana Department of Transportation Appoints Jerry Halperin

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT, has appointed Mr. Jerry Halperin of the Office of Urban & Corridor Planning, Transportation Development Specialist/Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator.

An 18 year veteran of the Indiana Department of Transportation, and an avid bicyclist, Mr. Halperin serves on the board of the Central Indiana Bicycling Association.

TRAIL DOLLARS GENERATE MILES

B&O trailAbout a year ago, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced $19 million in grant money to further Indiana trail projects. Add to that the Obama stimulus funds; and add to that the U. S. Surface Transportation budget reauthorization and Indiana trails seem to have struck a Powerball jackpot. How these newer dollar infusions will be spent is still being decided in many cases; some is yet to be received. Nevertheless, trail engineers and designers have been quite busy with the gubernatorial windfall. The Daniels’ grants were given through Indiana ’s Department of Natural Resources to specific construction projects on thirty separate trails. A number of projects have been finished and are newly opened. Others are nearing completion and expect to be in use before year’s end, while larger projects still continue toward fulfillment. The following is a status report on some of these trails.