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Agency Watch

U.S. DOT Launches Official, Horribly-Named “Blog”

peters_hog.jpg
Secretary Peters leans on a hog... in the fast lane.

On Tuesday, U.S. DOT unveiled "Fast Lane," a blog-type website supposedly authored by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. Whoever came up with the name, however, didn't do much to elevate the perception of Peters among transit and bike advocates, with whom she has a mixed record at best. Maybe it's too much to ask for a blog called "On Track" or "Bike Lane," but to acknowledge only drivers gets this PR effort off on the wrong foot. May we suggest re-branding and -- taking a page from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign -- going with a mode-neutral name based on mobility?

The first few posts hype some laudable moves on the feds' part, like funding Chicago's BRT lines and parking reforms (with what could have been New York's money). Peters also announced DOT's intention to move forward on a transit link between northern Virginia and Dulles Airport, which the agency had previously hesitated to fund (though the reversal may boil down to throwing some swing voters a bone during an election year).

While it's hard to take any PR from the administration at face value, to its credit, comments are enabled on the blog, and the moderators aren't screening out every bike-friendly suggestion that comes up.

There are also a few unintentionally humorous touches, like the conceit that mayors, governors, and the secretary herself are actually writing these posts. A Flickr-style photo pool is full of un-captioned images, typically featuring Peters or some unnamed official inspecting/pointing at/riding on an unidentified piece of gear. This raises the question: When will we be able to friend the Secretary of Transportation on Facebook?

Photo: Fast Lane

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