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

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

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Surely make you lose your mind.

  • Josh

    She looks like Martha Stewart.

  • She may not be writing the posts but I do believe Peters picked out the font for the title.

  • Why is mobility important anyway? Shouldn’t it be accessibility that we are after?

    To quote the Eagles further on the consequences of an addiction to mobility:

    Glowing and burning blinded by thirst
    They didn’t see the stop sign
    Took a turn for the worse
    She said, listen baby. you can hear the engine rev.
    weve up and down this highway, haven’t seen a goddamn thing.
    He said, call the doctor. I think I’m gonna crash.
    the doctor say he’s coming but you gotta pay in cash.
    They were rushing down that freeway,
    Messed around and got lost
    They didn’t care they were just dieing to get off and it was…

    Life in the fast lane.

  • James

    I think she makes it pretty obvious who she considers who constituency to be just by the name of the blog alone. Isn’t this the woman who said (I’m paraphrasing) “Bicycles are not transportation”?

  • James

    My bad, that should read *her* constituency, not who.

  • Mark Walker

    James, you’ve invented the slogan for the post-automotive age: Accessibility, not mobility. Brilliant!

  • And the Republicans want to convert HOV lanes to HOT lanes, so you can pay to get into the fast lane.

  • poncho

    she must have donated a lot of money to bush’s campaign or came from an oil family because they are much better transportation experts out there. her prior transport experience on her resume was probably that she drives a car.

    fast lane, isnt that promoting going over the speed limit? its also worth noting that the fast lane burns more gas which is certainly inline with the administration’s policies.

  • Ian Turner

    You can read all about Secretary Peters’ experience on the first Google result. She’s got a lot of experience, but she’s no stranger to the revolving door.



Columbus Wins $50 Million “Smart City” Grant. What Put It Over the Top?

U.S. DOT announced the winner of its $50 million “Smart City” grant yesterday, and Columbus, Ohio, bested finalists San Francisco, Portland, Austin, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Denver for the prize. Many other cities had applied for this federal funding to demonstrate how new technologies can improve urban streets and transportation. In its application, Columbus focused on improving job access […]

Transit-Oriented Development: Beyond the Big City

We’re taking it out of the city and into the suburbs and small towns today on the Streetsblog Network. Member blog Urban City Architecture takes a look at Moving Communities Forward, a recently released report on transit-oriented development (TOD) from the American Institute of Architects and the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of […]