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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Anthony Foxx Takes Office As U.S. Transportation Secretary

|
Anthony Foxx, who resigned yesterday as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, was sworn in today at 11 a.m. as the new U.S. secretary of transportation. The Department of Transportation sent the following information in a press release after the ceremony: Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx was sworn in as the nation’s 17th Secretary of Transportation by […]

Four Nice Touches in U.S. DOT’s New “Mayors’ Challenge” for Bike Safety

|
Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. There’s a difference between bike-safety warnings that focus on blaming victims and warnings that recommend actual systemic improvements. The launch of a Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets by U.S. Secretary […]

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 […]

Sec. Foxx Braves the Rain for Bike to Work Day

|
It’s Bike to Work Day, and despite pouring rain, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx came out to the Washington Area Bicyclists Association event in Freedom Plaza, getting soaked in shorts and a baseball cap. No disrespect to Ray LaHood, who did more for cycling than any Secretary of Transportation ever had, but he never showed […]

Anthony Foxx Wants to Repair the Damage Done By Urban Highways

|
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is offering a surprisingly honest appraisal of America’s history of road construction this week, with a high-profile speaking tour that focuses on the damage that highways caused in black urban neighborhoods. Growing up in Charlotte, Foxx’s own street was walled in by highways, he recalled in a speech today at the Center for American Progress. Building big, grade-separated roads through […]