March 4, 2011
"2 by 2012": A Bold Initiative to Transform Our Community
~ written by Doug Morgan, Hahn Loeser & Parks
The Columbus Bar Green Initiative Committee is getting involved in 2 by 2012.
There’s a pedaling revolution sweeping across America and Columbus is at the forefront, along with Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Enlightened public leaders and transportation engineers are increasingly promoting bicycling as a legitimate form of urban transportation. Currently, 42% of the automobile trips in the U.S. are 2 miles or less and 85% of these trips are 5 miles or less. Studies have shown that, by replacing just a small percentage of these short urban trips with bicycling, we can cut down on traffic, congestion, air pollution and parking, and improve our personal, environmental and community health. With gas prices projected to hit $4 or $5 per gallon, bicycling to work, school or for errands, makes good financial sense. And there’s no “greener” way to get around town.
Transportation engineers speak of “mode shift,” which means shifting people from automobiles to bicycling and other forms of alternate transportation. The development and land use policies in Columbus and most other American cities assume that citizens will have access to automobiles and cheap gas and have encouraged suburban sprawl. Consequently, it’s no surprise that mode shift in most U.S. cities is low – currently, 0.7% of commutes in Columbus are by bicycle. Portland and Minneapolis, the most bicycle-friendly cities in the U.S., boast 4-6% mode shift. Compare that to the more densely-developed cities in Europe where 20-40% of the people use bicycles as their primary form of transportation.
Consider Biking, our local bicycle advocacy organization, recently launched “2 by 2012,” a bold initiative to move the mode shift dial in Columbus. The goal of “2 by 2012” is for every citizen to replace just 2 automobile trips per month with bicycling. This includes biking to work, school or to run errands – any trip for which you would otherwise have used a car. Our official goal is to increase bicycle trips from the current 0.7% to 2.0% by 2012, the City’s Bicentennial. Consider Biking has developed state-of-the-art programming designed to help companies, schools and other member organizations develop biking programs custom-fit for their organizations to help their employees or other constituents learn to bike safely and confidently to work, school, etc. Thanks to a generous grant from the Columbus Foundation, Consider Biking is able to provide this programming free of charge. (If you’re interested in learning more about 2 by 2012, contact Bryan Saums at email@example.com.)
To date, over 80 Columbus companies, universities and organizations have adopted 2 by 2012, including the Columbus Bar, the Columbus Partnership, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and most of Columbus’s largest employers. In addition to helping keep employees healthy and thereby lowering health care costs, they understand that a vibrant active transportation system is critical to the economic development of our region – new economy workers are drawn to cities that offer biking and other transportation alternatives.
I gave up my car almost 10 years ago and began biking the 16 miles to and from my office – it’s fun, keeps me in very good health and keeps me “connected” to my community. You’d be surprised at the number of downtown attorneys and judges who bike to work on a regular basis, including Mayor Mike “Bikin” Coleman. We’d love to have your company or law firm adopt “2 by 2012” and help us move Columbus forward. Power to the Pedal!