Tuesday, March 20, 2012

John Allen's letter to his Congressional delegation regarding the MSP provision in the Federal Transportation Bill

Original is here.

I suggest folks send similar letters to our delegation.

Boston area cyclists –
I have sent the following e-mail to erika(underline)paulhus at scottbrown dot senate dot gov, in Sen. Scott Brown’s Boston office.
I intend to do the same for Sen. Kerry, and for Rep. Markey. I encourage you to express your opinions as well.

Ms. Paulhus –
Caroline, in Sen. Brown’s Boston office, has referred me to you.
I think you for the opportunity to comment on this issue.

Apparently at the instigation of the National Parks Service, the Senate version of the Transportation Bill includes a mandatory sidepath provision for bicyclists. There is a similar provision in the House version. That is, if there is a paved bicycle path anywhere near a road, bicyclists are prohibited from using the road. What is worse, the provision doesn’t even say that the path has to be usable, or serve the same destinations. I call this the “you can’t get there from here” law.

Mandatory sidepath laws presently are on the books in only 7 states. All of them at least require the path to be usable. Some set stricter requirements for the condition of the path. Massachusetts has no such law and has had none at least since Sen. William Saltonstall effected revisions in state bicycle laws in 1973. Over the past couple of decades, state after state has repealed these laws. The recognition has spread that, if a path is suitable, bicyclists will use it.

A Federal mandatory sidepath law would be a tremendous step backward. Here in Massachusetts, “Share the Road” signs on local roads in the Cape Cod National Seashore would be replaced by signs prohibiting bicycling. The law would also affect the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park.

I have discussed this issue in more detail on-line, at this address:
I compare state mandatory sidepath laws with the Federal provision, here:
I would be happy to visit the Boston office to discuss this matter further. I thank you for your attention!

Also, good essay here from across the Pond.


Steve A said...

I have sent one to John Cornyn. I will post the text later. It takes a quite different approach than John Allen's. You may still, however, like it all the same...

Invisible Man said...

Thank you for your kind words about my blogpost, Khal.

Best of luck with improving the legal environment for US cycling (I tried urban US cycling for the first time the other week, so understand some of your problems).

Invisible Visible Man