The Atlantic Cities throws out an intriguing idea in an article by Emily Badger headlined “Why Mayors Should Run the Department of Transportation.”
This country will soon lose one of the most progressive transportation secretaries it has ever had in Ray LaHood (shown at right), who has consistently been shifting national policy focus away from cars and highways and toward cities/transit/pedestrians/bicyclists.
She quotes David Goldberg, communications director for the advocacy group Transportation for America, as saying that outgoing transportation secretary has been "the best DOT secretary – certainly in my memory – in terms of recognizing that the ground has shifted, that the transportation issues of the 1950s that have driven the agenda for so many years are not the issues of the 21st century.
"The transportation issues of the 21st century will be less about building new highways and more about building new transit, about offering more multi-modal options to bike and walk. Transportation policy going forward won’t just be about moving people as far and as fast as possible, but about leveraging transportation in service of economic opportunity and livable communities."
Ms. Badger writes: "As the agency further modernizes its mission, who better to take us there than someone who comes from a city?"
The article points out that the transportation policy that shaped this nation when the Federal Highway Act was passed continues to favor the ex-urban realities that hurt cities. The highway and the car should be losing ground to cleaner, more sustainable choices — such as transit, bicycling, walking and the proximity of people to work and shopping needs — and this transition can only happen if cities can direct more of the national discourse.
Read the whole article here.