In the State of the Union Speech, President Obama called for a "Fix it First" approach to transportation improvement. Transportation4America's David Goldberg was happy to hear the focus on repair and so should bike advocates. Here's why.
- Cyclists are much more at risk for decaying infrastructure than drivers are. Potholes or gaps in pavement can be deadly for cyclists when they're only an annoyance for drivers.
- Money spent on new infrastructure would likely be spent in rural areas than in urban areas where cycling has the greatest utility. Even when that facility has a bike path, like the Intercounty Connector, it is still likely to be lightly used.
- There is a lot of low hanging fruit within the built environment. We can see here in the DC area that as bridges are rebuilt, they usually include better or new biking facilities, even when the improvement to drivers in trivial. Think of projects like the Wilson Bridge, the bridges over the HOT lanes, Humpback Bridge or the Route 50/10th Street project. Or ones that are planned like the Nice Bridge, Route 27 Bridge or the Long Bridge. If current trends hold, money spent rebuilding urban infrastructure should build more complete streets.