Yesterday, MassBike joined other advocates and officials to celebrate the announcement of the state’s mode shift goals. The big news for bike advocates? They want to triple the rate of biking, walking and transit use by 2030.
As Secretary Davey noted, “I have news for you: We will build no more superhighways in this state.” Without a shift to more biking, walking and transit use, our highways will become parking lots. And with dwindling gas tax revenues and no additional federal support, the state wouldn’t be able to build more highways even if they wanted to. The announcement yesterday wasn’t just a smart move, it was really the only move.
This announcement is part of the GreenDOT Implementation Plan that we commented on back in August. Fortunately, MassBike is in the position to be a strong partner in developing the details and helping to reach the goal once it is finalized. While the goal might seem like a lot, it is definitely achievable. According to the American Community Survey (ACS) a paltry 0.7% of Massachusetts residents biked to work in 2011 (the rates are higher in cities). While there are a lot of limitations to ACS data, the point still remains that increasing our statewide rate to 2.1% isn’t setting the bar too high.
In order to reach this goal, every community in the state will need to be made aware of the benefits that come with better bicycling conditions. The state, our cities and towns, and advocates are going to have to work together toward this goal. In the end, it’s not only because of crippling traffic congestion or air quality, energy security or public health – it’s because we couldn’t build our way out of the problem if we had to. Kudos to MassDOT for their mode shift goal, and we’ll be working closely with them as they move forward with it.