FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2013
Contact: Nancy Thompson
202-434-2560 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202-434-2560
AARP Supports Legislation to Ensure Safe Streets for All -- Walking, Driving, Cycling, or on Public Transportation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AARP sent the following letter this afternoon in support of the Safe Streets Act of 2013, bi-partisan legislation introduced today that seeks to ensure that future transportation investments create safe and useful transportation facilities for everyone using the nation’s roads.
June 20, 2013
Dear Representatives Matsui and Joyce:
AARP strongly endorses the Safe Streets Act of 2013 which you are introducing today. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that future transportation investments create appropriate and safe transportation facilities for all those using the nation’s roads, regardless of age and ability.
AARP is committed to helping communities make the changes necessary to meet the needs of their growing older population. Safe mobility options are a key component of this effort and are essential to the independence and well-being of mid-life and older Americans. Fully one-fifth of persons age 65 and above does not drive. Yet almost half of respondents to an AARP survey of persons age 50 and above said they cannot safely cross the main roads in their neighborhoods.
As pedestrians, older adults are disproportionately at risk. While 13 percent of the population, seniors represented 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities in 2011. Tragically, a pedestrian is killed every two hours in the U.S. The pedestrian share of traffic fatalities has been gone up over the last five years – fourteen percent of the total in 2011. It is critically important that policies are adopted to ensure that our streets are designed for all who use them.
Your legislation calls on states and metropolitan planning organizations to adopt complete streets policies for federally-funded projects within two years. These policies must ensure that the needs of all users of the transportation system are taken into account during the design, planning, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and operating phases of transportation project implementation.
In response to these growing public safety concerns, the adoption of policies to ensure all users are safely accommodated has accelerated significantly over the past several years. Jurisdictions of all sizes and locations have adopted complete streets policies, now totaling over 500 – including 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and several in your states. AARP has been active in advocating for many of these state and local policies.
AARP supports your Safe Streets legislation because it would ensure that federal transportation infrastructure investments provide safe travel for all -- whether driving, bicycling, walking, or taking public transportation. The improvements that allow older adults to travel by foot with ease benefit younger road users as well. Your bill will help ensure that all users are safe, that scarce transportation dollars are spent wisely, and that Americans have choices in how they move around their neighborhoods.
I would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your leadership on this issue in providing safer roads for all Americans, and particularly for those older road users who are most at risk. AARP appreciates your commitment and dedication to road safety for all Americans and we look forward to working with you towards accomplishment of this important goal. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me, or have your staff contact Debra Alvarez in our Government Relations Department at (202) 434-3814.
Senior Vice President
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.