Anthony Foxx Challenges Mayors to Protect Pedestrians and Cyclists

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wants mayors to step up bike and pedestrian safety efforts. Photo: Building America's Future
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx speaking at the U.S. Conference of Mayors yesterday. Photo: Building America’s Future

With pedestrian and cyclist deaths accounting for a rising share of U.S. traffic fatalities and Congress not exactly raring to take action, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is issuing a direct challenge to America’s mayors to improve street safety. Yesterday Foxx unveiled the “Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets” at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Transportation Committee meeting in Washington.

Overall traffic deaths are on a downward trend in the U.S., but the reduction in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities is not keeping pace with improvements for car occupants. Pedestrians and bicyclists now account for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S., and most of these deaths are in urban areas, Foxx noted.

Back in September, Foxx told the Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike/Pro-Place conference in Pittsburgh that U.S. DOT is “putting together the most comprehensive, forward-leaning initiative U.S. DOT has ever put forward on bike/ped issues.” The Mayor’s Challenge fleshes out that initiative to some extent.

Foxx wants mayors to implement seven key recommendations from U.S. DOT. In March, mayors and local leaders will convene at DOT headquarters to discuss how to put the recommendations into practice. Participating cities will implement the strategies in the following year, with assistance from U.S. DOT.

U.S. DOT’s recommendations urge a “complete streets” approach to design, better collection of data on walking and biking, and the incorporation of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure when cities resurface or rebuild streets.

In addition, U.S. DOT calls for “designs that are appropriate to the context of the street.” The agency lists the NACTO Street Design Guide as a resource for designing streets “appropriate to the context.” The NACTO manual includes guidelines for designs like protected bike lanes that are highly effective at improving safety but relatively new to American cities.

However, U.S. DOT makes no distinction between the NACTO guide and other engineering manuals that don’t include such effective designs. The materials released so far don’t exactly call out for a new generation of safer street designs.

Cities can join the challenge by filling out this form [PDF], or emailing pedbikesafety@dot.gov.

  • thielges

    I hope Mr. Foxx also addresses state DOTs as well since they’re often responsible for the most hostile roadways in cities. State highways running through the middle of towns as multi-lane high speed throughways and freeway interchanges that don’t accommodate bikes or peds.

  • People are “all for safety” just as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of parking, or car lanes, or changing the street in any way. Like Polk Street. http://dearestdistrict5.blogspot.com/2014/11/save-polk-street-crowd-still-ok-with.html

  • Justin

    It would be great to see San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee pursue the challenge but I have my doubts

  • Alex Paul

    Nice Article. Keep posting these informative contents.

    Very nice Sharing

    Have a Nice day

    Alex
    Paul

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

U.S. DOT Releases New Guidance to Make Streets Safe for Cycling

|
Last month in Pittsburgh, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled a new federal initiative aimed at reducing pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. Despite declining overall traffic fatalities, people walking and biking are being killed more often on American streets, a disturbing trend that U.S. DOT wants to reverse. Now we’re beginning to see what the feds have in […]

U.S. Traffic Fatalities Rising Fast — Especially Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths

|
Traffic fatalities in America hit a seven-year high in 2015, with pedestrians and cyclists accounting for a disproportionate share of the alarming increase, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, 35,200 people were killed in traffic — a 7.7 percent increase over 2014 and the worst death toll since 2008. The number of people killed while […]

Federal Report: Bad Street Design a Factor in Rising Ped/Bike Fatalities

|
A new report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office [PDF] examines why people walking or biking account for a rising share of traffic deaths in the United States. While the conclusions aren’t exactly earth-shattering, one culprit the GAO identified is street design practices that seek primarily to move cars. The investigation was ordered by U.S. representatives Rick Larsen (Washington State), […]

Meet Your Next Transportation Secretary

|
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx just accepted President Obama’s nomination to be the next transportation secretary. Before we get into the details of Anthony Foxx’s résumé and policy positions, let’s just take a moment to appreciate this: The White House has nominated a mayor to be secretary of transportation. There is often a wide gulf between […]