It's only becoming big news now, but last month U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on his blog what he called a "sea change" in federal transportation priorities. The secretary, who a week before had stood atop a table to address the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., wrote:
"People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized. We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."
To do this, the secretary wrote, the administration would treat cyclists as equals with motorists, go beyond minimum design standards for bike amenities and make sure that bike and pedestrian facilities are protected from things like debris and accumulating snow.%uFFFD
Defending his ideas from the controversy that swirled in their wake, LaHood pointed last week to studies showing that Americans want more transportation options and would like to spend less time in their cars.
The Huffington Post has details on the announcements and the backlash from the trucking industry here