A little fun fact about Bike To Work Week is that it differs from community to community. In Sonoma, California it was the second week in May; in Washington, DC, it was the third week in May. Well, in Chicago, it's this week, and the week's events culminated this morning in a Bike To Work Rally that I was happy to be a part of.
Chicago will soon join more than 20 American cities that benefit from a bike share program with its very own Divvy Bike Sharing System. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein plan to have 75 bike share stations up and running by the end of this month, with as many as 400 operational by the end of the year.
With New York, Chicago, and a dozen more cities --places like Tampa, Phoenix, and Fort Worth-- expected to open bike shares by the end of this year, it's safe to say that 2013 is, indeed, the year of the bike share.
Take a look around you. Bicycles are once again a fixture in America's communities. Whether we're talking about sharrows, separated bike lanes, or trails and paths distinct from roadways, bicycle-friendly infrastructure is part of a mainstream approach to transportation and community planning.
You can call it Complete Streets; you can call it Smart Growth; you can call it whatever you want. Here at DOT, we call it common sense, and it's just one part of our efforts to support livable communities with the full menu of transportation options Americans have said they want.
And since day one, President Obama and this Department have made that a priority. We have worked hard to make sure that--wherever you're going and however you're getting there--you can travel safely.
In fact, as I wrote earlier this week right here, the demand for TIGER 2013 has been tremendous, with more than 500 applications submitted seeking about $8 billion in funding. That exceeds the funds Congress made available to us by about $7.5 billion!
So we know there's more infrastructure work needed out there. Work that helps people and goods get where they need to be efficiently and reliably. Infrastructure that keeps people safe when they're on the move. Infrastructure that puts men and women to work in the short term building projects that will stimulate economic development in the long term.
And some of that will involve helping people who choose to ride bicycles get to work, school, and elsewhere safely and with confidence.
That's what they've done in Chicago with miles of bike lanes, sharrows, and off-street trails, and plenty more miles of each to come. And it was a pleasure to help my former colleague in Congress, Mayor Emanuel, celebrate that progress.
What's the bike-friendliest community in America? Portland? Chicago? Washington, DC? To me, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we live in a nation where cities across the country, small and large, are actively and publicly competing with each other to claim a share of that title.
That's a legacy this Administration, this Department, and this Secretary can be proud of.