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Antonio Villaraigosa

Mayor on the State of Air: We Need to Walk and Bike More

Maybe it's just me; but has anyone else noticed a chance in our mayor recently when it comes to discussing walking and bicycling?  All of a sudden it seems like the Mayor can't get enough of talking up the virtues of moving from place to place sans automobile.   First there was a mention in the State of the City and earlier this week on Huffington Post he touted people powered transportation as one of the best things Angelenos can do to clean up our air.

The City of Angels no longer needs to be known for smog and sprawl, butit will take our collective efforts to ensure that we will all breathecleaner air. Government action is key, but there are many, simplethings people can do to help reduce air pollution: drive one less dayper week, bike and walk as often as possible, avoid burning wood.

This might not seem like a big deal to people who live and breathe bicycle or pedestrian advocacy; but it's not everyday we see politicians willing to place some of the responsibility for the declining health of the planet on the choices normal people make everyday.  Think back to the 2008 presidential election, can you remember any of the major candidates, Barack Obama included, telling people to change their lifestyle habits for the planet?  When I wrote about the campaigns before the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries for NYC Streetsblog I couldn't find a mention of that for either the Republicans or the Democrats.

But more importantly than just talking the talk, we're starting to see a shift in policy.  Let's hope that the good news doesn't end with 30/10 and a 10% set aside for bicycles and pedestrian projects.  My prediction, based on Dan Koeppel's twitter feed, we're about to get some good news on CicLAvia.

Oh, and in case anyone's interested; it turns out that burning wood in an urban environment, with high particulates in the air, is a bad idea.  Don't do it.

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