Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.) leads the Congressional Bicycle Caucus, a bipartisan group that helped secure $4.5 billion in funding for bike and pedestrian initiatives.
Parade: Why care about cycling now?
Right now, the U.S. consumes about 10% of the world’s oil supply just to get back and forth to work. If we are able to reintroduce the bicycle into our communities, we are going to make it easier for people to break our addiction to oil. I have cycled to work in Washington, D.C., for 12 years. I’ve burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Your city—Portland, Ore.—is very bike-friendly. What has worked?
We have expanded the number of bike lanes, established bike routes throughout the city, and turned major streets into “bike boulevards” so there is less through traffic. It’s making a huge difference. People in Portland use their cars much less than the American average. That translates into savings of more than $2500 per year per family. There should be a bicycle master plan for cities large and small.
How do you balance the competing demands of cyclists who want more lanes and drivers who worry about congestion?
It’s not about competition. Cycling actually helps improve traffic flow on roads. If all of those thousands of people who bike every day in Portland were to get back in their cars, we would have more traffic congestion and more frayed nerves. Cycling helps with parking, too—you can fit a dozen bikes in the space one car would take.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
A greener commute
Today's Parade Magazine featured a brief profile with Rep. Earl Blumenauer: