Cyclists urge Pa. lawmakers to preserve funding for bike lanes, walking paths
The Pennsylvania Senate's $2.5 billion transportation funding plan includes $2 million for bicycle and pedestrian lane planning.
Cyclists gathered on Tuesday to ask lawmakers to keep that lesser-known line item intact.
The call for transportation infrastructure funding has focused on roads and bridges much more than items such as paths for walking and bike lanes.
Dan Miles, an avid bicyclist from Cumberland County, told legislators he's an example of why they're needed.
During a bike ride, he was hit by a car that shattered his shoulder — an accident he says could have been prevented if there had been bike lanes in his township.
"A bike lane signals to drivers that cyclists are present and have a place on the road," Miles said. "When I'm driving in a city that has bike lanes, I am automatically on the lookout for riders."
Rural vs. city
Lawmakers have squabbled over whether rural roads should get more funding than urban mass transit and bike and pedestrian lanes.
Too often, lawmakers argue that certain parts of the transportation infrastructure should get priority over others, said Brad Mallory, a deputy secretary for PennDOT who previously led the agency.
For example, he said, there have been squabbles over whether rural roads should get more funding than urban mass transit and bike and pedestrian lanes.
"And I think it's a false choice," Mallory said. "We need a transportation system that literally fires on all cylinders, whether it's engine powered or muscle powered."
A House committee will begin considering the proposal this week.