[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 218 (Friday, November 13, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58678-58681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-27240]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2009-0052]


Proposed Policy Statement on the Eligibility of Pedestrian and 
Bicycle Improvements Under Federal Transit Law

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed policy statement and request for comment.

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SUMMARY: This notice describes the eligibility of pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding 
and proposes a formal policy on the catchment area for pedestrians and 
bicyclists in relationship to public transportation stops and stations. 
FTA seeks comment from all interested parties. After consideration of 
the comments, FTA will issue a second Federal Register notice 
responding to comments and noting any changes made to the policy 
statement as a result of comments received.

DATES: Comments must be received by January 12, 2010. Late-filed 
comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the docket number 
(FTA-2009-0052) by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
    U.S. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 
West Building, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, 
DC 20590.
    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, West Building, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Transit 
Administration), and Docket number (FTA-2009-0052) for this notice at 
the beginning of your comments. All comments received will be posted, 
without change and including any personal information provided, to 
http://www.regulations.gov where they will be available to internet 
users. Please see the Privacy Act for more information.
    You should submit two copies of your comments if you submit them by 
mail. If you wish to receive confirmation that FTA received your 
comments, you must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. Due to 
security procedures in effect since October 2001 regarding mail 
deliveries, mail received through the U.S. Postal Service may be 
subject to delays. Parties submitting comments should consider using an 
express mail firm to ensure the prompt filing of any submissions not 
filed electronically or by hand.
    For access to the DOT docket to read materials relating to this 
notice, please go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time.
    Contact Information: For questions, please contact Matthew Lesh at 
(202) 366-0953 or matthew.lesh@dot.gov. For legal questions, please 
contact Jayme L. Blakesley at (202) 366-0304 or 
jayme.blakesley@dot.gov. The principal office of FTA is located at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The purpose of this notice is to propose a radius around a public 
transportation stop or station within which FTA will consider 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements to have a de facto functional 
relationship to public transportation.
    U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has challenged the U.S. 
Department of Transportation to improve the livability of our nation's 
communities: ``President [Obama] has made livable communities a key 
aspect of his agenda. * * * How a community is designed--including the 
layout of the roads, transit systems and walkways--has a huge impact on 
its residents.'' \1\ Funding bicycle and pedestrian facilities that 
provide access to public transportation is an important way for FTA to 
foster livable communities.
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    \1\ Statement of Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, before 
the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate 
Hearing on Greener Communities, Greater Opportunities: New Ideas for 
Sustainable Development and Economic Growth (June 16, 2009).
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    A livable community is ``a community where if people don't want an 
automobile, they don't have to have one; a community where you can walk 
to work, your doctor's appointment, pharmacy or grocery store. Or you 
could take light rail, a bus, or ride a bike.'' \2\ According to 
Secretary LaHood, ``[l]ivable communities are mixed-use neighborhoods 
with highly-connected streets promoting mobility for all users, whether 
they are children walking or biking to school or commuters riding 
transit or driving motor vehicles. Benefits include improved traffic 
flow, shorter trip lengths, safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, 
lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, 
increased trip-chaining, and independence for those who prefer not to 
or are unable to drive. In addition, investing in a ``complete street'' 
concept stimulates private-sector economic activity by increasing the 
viability of street-level retail small businesses and professional 
services, creating housing opportunities and extending the usefulness 
of school and transit facilities.'' \3\ To illustrate the Secretary's 
point, more than half of older adults who described an inhospitable 
environment outside their homes would walk, bicycle, or take public 
transportation more if their streets were improved.\4\
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    \2\ Christie Findlay, Living in a Post-Car World, AARP Bulletin, 
October 1, 2009.
    \3\ Statement of Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, before 
the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate 
Hearing on Greener Communities, Greater Opportunities: New Ideas for 
Sustainable Development and Economic Growth (June 16, 2009).
    \4\ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic 
Safety Facts: Older Population. 2005.
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    With respect to bicycle facilities in particular, Secretary LaHood 
has committed the Department to ``work toward an America where bikes 
are recognized to coexist with other modes and to safely share our 
roads and bridges.'' \5\ If we are to create livable communities, ``the 
range of transportation choices available to all Americans--including 
transit, walking, bicycling, and improved connectivity for various 
modes--must be expanded.'' \6\
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    \5\ Statement of Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, before 
the 2009 National Bike Summit in Washington, DC (March 11, 2009).
    \6\ Statement of Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, before 
the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate 
Hearing on Greener Communities, Greater Opportunities: New Ideas for 
Sustainable Development and Economic Growth (June 16, 2009).

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[[Page 58679]]

    Walking, bicycling, and public transportation are complimentary. 
Nearly all public transportation riders are pedestrians: Some access 
public transportation by walking a short distance; others may arrive by 
bicycle or automobile and then walk to a rail platform or bus stop. 
Safe walking and bicycling conditions are important inducements to 
using public transportation.
    The success of public transportation can be limited by the problem 
of the ``first and last mile.'' One of ``the best present options for 
solving the first and last mile dilemma are * * * bicycles. * * * 
Bicycles are the no-brainer of American mobility, one of our great 
underutilized resources. There are more bicycles in the United States 
than there are households but most of those bikes sit in garages except 
for an occasional recreational outing. And yet they are the perfect 
transportation choice for a short one- to three-mile trip to and from a 
transit station.'' \7\
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    \7\ Andrea White-Kjoss, Building Multimodal Transit Facilities: 
The One Clear Step Toward the New Transportation Paradigm, Mass 
Transit, July/August 2009, at 36-37.
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    Whether used for longer trips to access amenities outside the 
walkable radius of a public transportation station, or whether they 
enable direct access to a public transportation facility, bicycle 
amenities play an important role in encouraging public transportation 
use by providing riders with greater opportunities, choice, flexibility 
and safety for reaching their final destinations.
    In order to protect and support current public transportation 
riders as well as encourage and grow public transportation use, the 
development of safe, secure and appropriate catchment areas is 
essential. The users of public transportation require safe, convenient, 
and practical access routes as well as appropriate amenities to enhance 
the utility of public transportation systems across the country. This 
is being demonstrated in public transportation systems across the 
nation. In Washington, DC, for example, the Washington Metropolitan 
Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has been conducting a planning study to 
identify strategies for encouraging more people to walk and ride their 
bicycle to and from Metrorail stations. WMATA believes this will result 
in recommendations for a range of physical infrastructure improvements 
such as more and better bicycle parking facilities, better wayfinding 
and signage to and from stations, and better connections to nearby 
trails and on-road bicycle lanes. A study commissioned by the Federal 
Highway Administration identified examples of increased ridership due 
to enhanced bicycle facilities near public transportation. One example 
of this was a bike-on-bus demonstration program in Phoenix, Arizona 
that led to over 1,400 new public transportation riders per month.\8\
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    \8\ Federal Highway Administration. Bicycle and Pedestrian 
Connections to Transit: Lesson 9, retrieved from: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/PED_BIKE/univcourse/pdf/swless09.pdf.
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    Walking, bicycling, and public transportation provide low-cost 
mobility that places fewer demands on local roads and highways. Studies 
suggest that developments that incorporate bicycling and walking 
infrastructure in proximity with public transportation can reduce 
fiscal outlays of local municipalities towards roads and other 
infrastructure expansion by twenty-five percent.\9\ In a recent report 
comparing public transportation use by U.S. and German citizens, 
researchers found that German household budgets for transportation were 
lower than their U.S. counterparts despite smaller government subsidies 
for public transportation. These differences are attributed, in part, 
to the successful integration of public transportation services with 
safe walking and bicycling facilities.\10\ In fact, a recent survey 
commissioned by a major real estate franchise indicates that over half 
of the firm's clients want access to public transportation and seventy-
five percent agreed that the ability to walk to more destinations made 
a location more appealing.\11\
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    \9\ TCRP Report 102: Transit-Oriented Development in the United 
States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects, Transportation 
Research Board, 2004.
    \10\ R. Buehler and J. Pucher, Sustainable Transport that Works: 
Lessons from Germany, World Transport Policy & Practice, V.15, No.1, 
April 2009.
    \11\ Interest in Urban Homeownership Survey, Coldwell Banker, 
June 2008.
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    Moreover, public transportation riders spend less on transportation 
than persons that rely primarily on automobiles. When residents can 
walk, bike, and take public transportation, they have more control over 
their expenses. For example, public transportation riders in Wisconsin 
save almost $7 per trip over driving. These savings result in spending 
that, collectively, is responsible for 11,671 new jobs, $163.3 million 
in tax revenue, and $1.1 billion in total output.\12\ It is also 
documented that a continuous and integrated sidewalk network flanked by 
street trees and other amenities directly stimulates public 
transportation ridership by providing both a safe and visually 
attractive setting between residences and public transportation 
nodes.\13\
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    \12\ Khalid Bekka, Economic Benefits of Public Transportation, 
Wisconsin Department of Transportation, November 2003.
    \13\ R. Untermann, Accommodating the Pedestrian: Adapting Towns 
and Neighborhoods for Walking and Bicycling, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 
New York, 1984.
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    Adequate sidewalks, pathways, and roadway crossings in the area 
around public transportation access points and amenities such as 
benches, shelters, and lighting at stops and stations are important for 
pedestrian comfort and safety. The most successful and useful public 
transportation systems have safe and convenient pedestrian access and 
provide comfortable waiting areas, all of which encourage greater 
use.\14\ Well-connected sidewalks should be installed in all areas with 
regular public transportation service so that public transportation 
patrons will not be forced to walk in the street while traveling to or 
from a stop or station. In addition, roadway crossings should be made 
safer with an appropriate combination of facilities, such as marked 
crosswalks, median crossing islands, warning signs, and pedestrian 
signals.\15\
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    \14\ Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies, Federal 
Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation, 
February 2008.
    \15\ Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies, Federal 
Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation, 
February 2008.
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    Distances beyond the walkshed of public transportation stops and 
stations may in fact be within the range of a short bicycle trip. 
Providing secure parking and other amenities for bicycles and cyclists 
at public transportation stops or stations can be less expensive than 
providing parking for automobiles. Access to public transportation 
allows bicyclists the opportunity to make longer trips. Where physical 
conditions prevent a continuous bicycle trip, public transportation can 
provide a link to previously inaccessible destinations.
    Examples of destinations that generate bicycle traffic include 
major employment centers, schools, parks, shopping centers, 
neighborhoods, recreational facilities, colleges and military bases. 
According to a guide published by the American Association of State 
Highway and Transportation Officials, convenient access and bicycle 
parking should be provided at public transportation stations, ferries 
and other intermodal transfer points; all highways as well as 
arterials, except those where cyclists are legally prohibited, should 
be designed and constructed under the assumption that they will be used 
by cyclists; and bicycles should be considered in all phases of

[[Page 58680]]

transportation planning, new roadway design, roadway reconstruction, 
and capacity improvement and public transportation projects.\16\
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    \16\ American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials, Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 1999.
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II. Planning Requirements

    The joint planning regulations of the Federal Transit 
Administration and Federal Highway Administration require States and 
metropolitan planning organizations to integrate bicycle and pedestrian 
facilities into all transportation plans and improvement programs. 
Pedestrians and bicyclists must be provided with a reasonable 
opportunity to comment on long-range statewide transportation plans and 
metropolitan transportation master plans.\17\
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    \17\ Federal Transit Law, Title 49, Chapter 53, United States 
Code, encourages States and metropolitan areas to develop innovative 
transportation plans and programs which better integrate public 
transportation, bicycle facilities, pedestrian walkways, and other 
modes of travel into the existing transportation system. To this 
end, the statewide transportation plan and the transportation 
improvement program developed for each state must ``provide for the 
development and integrated management and operation of 
transportation systems and facilities (including accessible 
pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities) that will 
function as an intermodal transportation system.'' 49 U.S.C. 
5304(a)(2). Similarly, the plans and transportation improvement 
programs (TIP) of all metropolitan areas must ``provide for the 
integrated management and operation of transportation systems and 
facilities (including accessible pedestrian walkways and bicycle 
transportation facilities).'' 49 U.S.C. 5303(c)(2). Moreover, when 
preparing long-range statewide transportation plans and 
transportation master plan, each state and metropolitan planning 
organization (MPO) must provide a reasonable opportunity to comment 
to the ``representatives of users of public transportation, 
representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle 
transportation facilities,'' among others. 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)(5) and 
5304 (f)(3).
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III. Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements Under Federal Transit Law

    Most grant programs administered by the Federal Transit 
Administration (FTA) may be used to fund the design, construction, and 
maintenance of bicycle and pedestrian projects that enhance or are 
related to public transportation facilities. Improvements made 
expressly eligible by statute include capital projects like pedestrian 
and bicycle access to a public transportation facility \18\; and 
transit enhancements like pedestrian access, walkways, and bicycle 
access, including bicycle storage facilities and equipment for 
transporting bicycles on public transportation vehicles.\19\ In 
addition, certain funding programs administered by the Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA), including the Surface Transportation Program and 
the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, may be used for 
public transportation purposes. Once transferred to FTA for a public 
transportation purpose, these ``flexible'' funds are administered as 
FTA funds and take on all the eligibility and requirements of the FTA 
program to which they are transferred, except for the Federal share, 
which remains that required under the FHWA program.\20\ The following 
is a description of the eligibility requirements for pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements under Federal Transit Law.
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    \18\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1)(G)
    \19\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(15)(f).
    \20\ 49 U.S.C. 5334(i).
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a. Capital Projects

    FTA grantees may use any of the following programs to fund capital 
projects for pedestrian and bicycle access to a public transportation 
facility:

Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program
Section 5309 New Starts and Small Starts Major Capital Investment 
Programs
Section 5309 Fixed Guideway Modernization Program
Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Discretionary Program
Section 5310 Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities 
Formula Program
Section 5311 Non-Urbanized Area Formula Program
Section 5311 Public Transportation on Indian Reservations
Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute Formula Program
Section 5317 New Freedom Program
Section 5320 Paul S. Sarbanes Alternative Transportation in Parks and 
Public Lands

    Federal Transit Law defines the term ``capital project'' to mean, 
among other things, ``a public transportation improvement that enhances 
economic development or incorporates private investment, including * * 
* pedestrian and bicycle access to a [public] transportation 
facility.'' \21\
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    \21\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(1)(G).
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    This eligibility is not without restrictions, however.\22\ Bicycle 
and pedestrian projects made eligible under the aforementioned 
definition of capital project must satisfy additional statutory 
criteria, including requirements to enhance economic development or 
incorporate private investment; to enhance the effectiveness of public 
transportation project and relate physically or functionally to that 
project, or to establish new or enhanced coordination between public 
transportation and other transportation; and to provide a fair share of 
revenue for public transportation.\23\
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    \22\ Note: The restrictions described in this paragraph do not 
apply to projects funded under 49 U.S.C. 5320, Paul S. Sarbanes 
Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands. Alternative 
transportation expressly includes activities that provide ``a 
nonmotorized transportation system (including the provision of 
facilities for pedestrians, bicycles, and nonmotorized 
watercraft).''
    \23\ For more information, see FTA's February 7, 2007, guidance 
on the Eligibility of Joint Development Projects under Federal 
Transit Law at 72 FR 5788.
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b. Transit Enhancement Activities

    One percent of Urbanized Area Formula program funds apportioned to 
urbanized areas with populations of at least 200,000 are set aside for 
transit enhancements. Eligible transit enhancement projects include 
pedestrian access and walkways, bicycle access, including bicycle 
storage facilities and installing equipment for transporting bicycles 
on public transportation vehicles.\24\ As an added incentive, the 
Federal share of transit enhancement grants covers 90 percent of the 
cost of the project.\25\ If the project involves providing bicycle 
access to public transportation, the grant or portion of that grant may 
be at a Federal share of 95 percent.\26\
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    \24\ 49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(15).
    \25\ 49 U.S.C. 5319.
    \26\ 49 U.S.C. 5319.
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IV. Proposed Policy

a. Background

    FTA encourages the use of its funds for the type of well-designed 
pedestrian and bicycle amenities that attract new public transportation 
riders by expanding the catchment area and utility of public 
transportation stations. Therefore, FTA has decided to issue this 
statement of proposed policy on the eligibility of pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements for FTA funding. In particular, this notice 
proposes and seeks comment on threshold catchment areas for pedestrian 
and bicycle improvements near public transportation stops and stations.
    A key requirement for determining the eligibility of a pedestrian 
or bicycle improvement is whether it has a functional relationship to a 
public transportation facility. FTA grantees have been left without 
adequate guidance, however, because FTA has made no determination of 
the specific distances pedestrians or bicyclists can be expected to 
travel to access a public transportation stop or station. The

[[Page 58681]]

purpose of this notice is to propose a radius around a public 
transportation stop or station within which FTA will consider 
pedestrian and bicycle improvements to have a de facto functional 
relationship to public transportation.
    FTA's existing guidance on the eligibility of joint development 
improvements serves as the foundation for this proposed policy. 
According to that guidance, ``the functional relationship test of 
activity and use permits the use of FTA funds for joint development 
improvements [including pedestrian and bicycle improvements] located 
outside the structural envelope of a public transportation project, and 
may extend across an intervening street, major thoroughfare or 
unrelated property, [but] should not extend beyond the distance most 
people can be expected to safely and conveniently walk to use the 
transit service.'' \27\
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    \27\ FTA guidance on the Eligibility of Joint Development 
Improvements under Federal Transit Law, 72 FR 5790 (Feb. 7, 2007).
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    Relying on this guidance, in most circumstances FTA has considered 
pedestrian improvements within about 1,500 feet of a public 
transportation stop or station to be functionally related. Improvements 
beyond a 1,500 foot radius were considered functionally related to 
public transportation only if they satisfied a test of activity and 
use.
    The distance stated in FTA's existing guidance is too short. 
``While distance is very important for pedestrians, on average they 
will walk further than the anecdotal rule of thumb of 400 meters used 
in many planning applications.'' \28\ Research indicates that 
pedestrians are willing to walk at least one-half mile to train 
stations or other forms of reliable public transportation when the 
environment surrounding the station is safe and well-designed.\29\ That 
equals a fifteen minute walk at a pace of two miles per hour. A one-
half mile catchment area is a conservative estimate of the distance a 
pedestrian is willing to travel to a public transportation stop or 
station. FTA has reason to believe that pedestrians are willing to 
spend more than fifteen minutes walking to public transportation stops 
and stations: A study published in the American Journal of Preventative 
Medicine concluded that Americans who use public transportation spend a 
median of nineteen minutes daily walking to and from public 
transportation; and people in high-density urban areas were more likely 
to spend approximately thirty minutes walking to and from public 
transportation daily.\30\
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    \28\ Kevin J. Krizek, Ann Forsyth and Laura Baum, Walking and 
Cycling International Literature Review, Victoria Department of 
Transport, 2009, at 29.
    \29\ Schlossberg, M. et al., How Far, By Which Route, and Why? A 
Spatial Analysis of Pedestrian Reference, Mineta Transportation 
Institute, June 2007.
    \30\ L.M. Besser and A.L. Dannenberg, Walking to Public Transit: 
Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations, Am. J. Prev. 
Med., November 2005, at 273.
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    Applying the same timeframes to bicyclists yields at least a three 
mile catchment area. Bicycle paths would extend further than a 
pedestrian facility and still be functionally related because 
``bicyclists are willing to travel much longer distances than 
pedestrians, largely due to higher average speeds attainable by 
bicycle.'' \31\ Inasmuch as the average bicycle commuter travels at ten 
miles per hour,\32\ FTA proposes a bicycle catchment area of three 
miles from public transportation stops and stations.
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    \31\ Kevin J. Krizek, Ann Forsyth and Laura Baum, Walking and 
Cycling International Literature Review, Victoria Department of 
Transport, 2009, at 18.
    \32\ League of American Bicyclists. Retrieved From: http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/commuters.php.
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b. Proposed Policy

    For purposes of determining whether a pedestrian or bicycle 
improvement has a physical or functional relationship to public 
transportation, regardless of whether it is funded as a capital project 
or public transportation enhancement, all pedestrian improvements 
located within one-half mile and all bicycle improvements located 
within three miles of a public transportation stop or station shall 
have a de facto physical and functional relationship to public 
transportation. According to a test of activity and use, pedestrian and 
bicycle improvements beyond these threshold distances may be eligible 
for FTA funding if the improvement is within the distance most people 
can be expected to safely and conveniently walk or bicycle to use that 
particular transit service.
    FTA seeks comment from all interested parties. After consideration 
of the comments, FTA will issue a second Federal Register notice 
responding to comments received and noting any changes made to the 
policy statement as a result of comments received.

    Issued this 6th day of November 2009.
Peter M. Rogoff,
Administrator, Federal Transit Administration.
[FR Doc. E9-27240 Filed 11-12-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P