2010 Elections: What they mean to Detroit cyclists

Just some quick observations…

Michigan House

We lose cycling supporter (and Tour de Troit rider) Rep. Gabe Leland due to term limits. However, his replacement is cycling and trails advocate  Harvey Santana.

Former Detroit City Councilmember Alberta Tinsley-Talabi was elected to the State House. She was a solid supporter of Detroit’s non-motorized plan on Council.

Michigan Senate

Rep. Coleman Young II, who sat on the House Transportation Committee and supported the Complete Streets legislation, is now heading to the Michigan Senate.

Michigan Governor

We didn’t know if there was much of a difference between the two gubernatorial candidates. Though Rick Synder was called out on the pedestrian bridge comment, he noted that he supported bike-friendly, walkable communities. He also pledged to help strengthen the city of Detroit. And, insider talk says Bill Rustem may play a key role in they Synder administration. Rustem is a former board member of the Michigan chapter of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and a board emeritus for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

The bigger question is what will happen with MDOT. Will MDOT Director Kirk Steudle remain? Under his leadership, MDOT supported the Complete Streets legislation. He also authored that great letter about Complete Streets.

U.S. Congress

The huge loss of Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota is quite devastating for bicycle advocacy in the U.S.  Andy Clarke, Executive director of the League of American Bicyclists says, “I’m not going to lie – I’m depressed.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick lost in the primary and was a member of the bicycle caucus. She’s replaced by Hansen Clarke.

Congressman Mark Schauer had become a supporter of bicycling, especially through the efforts of PEAC. He lost his seat to Tim Walberg.

And overall the lost of Democratic control of the House will have a major impact on bicycling. It makes John Boehner the Speaker and he has some history of not being too bike friendly. And it might take a whole lot more work to make the  next transportation bill bike friendly.

As Clarke said, we’re now on the defensive.

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2 Responses to “2010 Elections: What they mean to Detroit cyclists”

  1. John Waterman Says:

    I was sad to lose Mark Schauer as US Rep in the 7 district. Mark’s support for nonmotorized travel of individual with disabilities was remarkable. The retirement of Vern Ehlers was another loss for PEAC, because of his dedication to make sure individuals with disabilities had access to their communities through active transportation. Last night, I knew we lost Oberstarr as a chairperson for the transportation committee, but never dreamed he would lose his bid to retain his office.

    Now the challenge will be to develop new champions to our cause. This will take work and dedication, which families and children from PEAC are ready to begin. I encourage everyone to support and join the brave children with disabilities who will share the importance of cycling to our new leaders. It is time to work and share our visions to improve our community

    John Waterman

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    Great comments, John. These changes make going to the 2011 National Bike Summit all that more important for every bicyclist.

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