He does. And it’s very good. Many sustainable transportation enthusiasts thought that Ray LaHood’s appointment as Secretary of Transportation indicated that Obama wasn’t really serious about promoting livable cities and ending the federal government’s maniac sprawl subsidies. We underestimated LaHood. It didn’t become clear to me until I read his blog, however, how thoroughly wrong I was to be disappointed. His blog demonstrates a real understanding of how development and transportation are connected. Even more importantly, I think, he demonstrates a love for place, and for communities that are real places. I recommend this post on “livable communities.” Some quotes that make my enviro-urban-local-aesthete heart patter excitedly:
“I did, after all, serve my hometown Illinois district in the House of Representatives for 14 years. But, the truth is that Congress is not home; Peoria is. And communities like Peoria are the reason I’m going back to Congress today…
The way we design our communities has a huge impact on our citizens’ social, physical, and economic wellbeing. Yet many Americans live in neighborhoods without sidewalks or access to public transportation.
Therefore, one of my highest priorities is to work closely with Congress, other Federal departments, the nation’s governors, and local officials to help promote more livable communities through sustainable surface transportation programs…
…a joint effort to revitalize our downtowns, foster walkable neighborhoods, and bring people, employers, and housing closer together through public transportation.”
A more welcome change from Mary “bikes aren’t transportation” Peters could scarcely be imagined. Who knew that such a gruff and Republican-looking congressman from Peoria could secretly be harboring a well developed philosophy of sustainable community supported by multi-modal transportation policies?