Take the Greener Route

Video by John Perrino and Julia Blakely

The DC DDOT has partnered with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association to provide bicycle and pedestrian safety training in DC elementary schools.

Biking is a healthy, convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to get around and commute to work each day. In our nation’s capital, there are over 100 miles of bike trails and bike lanes making traveling by bike simpler and safer.

A $45.8 million DC Bicycle Master Plan is also underway and nearly complete. The plan includes many improvements to the biking infrastructure and programs about biking safety and awareness for DC residents, especially children.

Of the 51 largest U.S. cities, the District tops the list for highest per-capita funding for cycle and pedestrian facilities and education spending approximately $9.82 per resident.

I have made it clear I want the District of Columbia to be the most sustainable, walkable city in the nation, said Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Biking is also an integral part of the 20 year Sustainable DC Plan. The plan calls for an increase in the “use of public transit, biking, and walking to 75% of all commuter trips…”

While producing the video, Julia and I found many people were very knowledgeable about the environmental importance of biking. We met an environmental lawyer, a man who taught sustainability awareness in Africa and was testing out an 18 mile bike commute, and a father showing his son the importance of biking who had served on various regional boards dealing with the new transportation plans.

Most people, however, were not very aware of any plan but noticed an increase in biking lanes and acceptance of bikes on the roads.

There has been an upward trend in commuting by bicycle (3.2% in 2011 to 4.1% in 2012) in DC and most surrounding regions and the future looks bright with smart investments in biking and high awareness by local residents.

However, the numbers still have a long way to go until they can compete with nations like the Netherlands where approximately 30% of all short trips are by bicycle. 

John Perrino is a senior majoring in Political Communication at The George Washington University. Julia Blakely is a senior majoring in Journalism at The George Washington University.

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