Speaking at the 2012 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., U.S. Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD) yesterday urged
transportation planners and advocates to promote bicycling and walking as a
means of improving conditions and access in low-income neighborhoods and
communities of color.
"I want you reaching out into communities like mine, where
there are majorities of people of color, where we ride our bicycles, too, and we
want clear air and water and all modes of transportation so we can go to and
from work," said Edwards, who lives in Fort Washington, Md. "We have work
to do as advocates so we can make sure we have the most robust movement for all
us, for all communities."
Edwards' comments provide strong testimony to the importance of Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy's (RTC) Urban
Pathways Initiative (UPI), which for the past three years has helped create
trails and encouraged biking and walking programs in urban communities across the country, including Washington, D.C., Camden,
N.J., Compton, Calif., New Orleans, La., Springfield, Mass., and Cleveland, Ohio.
Supported by The Kresge Foundation, our UPI work specifically
focuses on empowering under-served communities--typically low-income
neighborhoods with poor transportation networks, a scarcity of public green space, and limited access to schools and employment centers.
"Resident of these neighborhoods confront the problems of obesity, congestion
and scarcity of open space on a daily basis," says Kelly Pack, RTC's director
of trail development. "Having a trail nearby, or good sidewalks and
bike lanes, has an enormous impact. It improves employment opportunities, gives
people an inexpensive and healthy way to get around--it reenergizes sections
of these cities that have, in many ways, been isolated and ignored."Learn more about our UPI work, including a new video about trail safety and downloadable issue summaries.
Photo of Rep. Edwards at the 2012 Bike Summit courtesy of Jonathan Maus/Bike Portland.
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