from COP15: talk about bicycles!
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of this, Mayor Hickenlooper?
MAYOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER: .... You know, I look at some of the ways that the Obama administration, they’re doing things that no other administration has done. You know, he talked to lobbyists that had been working in Washington for fifty years. It’s the first time that the EPA is working hand in glove with the Department of Transportation and with Housing and Urban Development, with HUD, so that if they’re going to give a billion dollars to a city to build a transit system, how do they make sure that they get changes in zoning and greater density around each of those transit stops? How do they make sure they have affordable housing at each of these transit stops? How do they make sure they take brownfield sites at old factories and build these new small villages there?
I mean, those are the kinds of things that, long term, in cities across America, are going to make dramatic changes and help us reach these ambitious goals. And they’re already doing that; they’re not waiting to legislate that. They’re saying, “Alright, how do we get more money for transit? How do we focus our energies on integrating the federal agencies so that we can begin moving it?” Because it is. It’s just an enormous challenge for everyone. They’re not waiting. They’re already doing it.
AMY GOODMAN: This is why you’re actually here in Copenhagen, is that right?
MAYOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Well, the transit side of it, right. We’re talking about what are those ways that you integrate transit with bicycles. I mean, here we are in Copenhagen. Thirty-seven percent of the people in this city, when they go to work in the metropolitan area, ride a bicycle to work. I mean, it’s remarkable. Their goal—I met yesterday for an hour with the deputy mayor of the environment and transportation, Klaus Bondam, and Klaus Bondam described how their next goal is to hit 50 percent. I mean, to have half your population, when they go to work on bicycles, they’re healthier, the air is cleaner, there’s less carbon emissions, you save money. I mean, the benefits are dramatic, and you can see the difference just when you walk down the street.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, we were just in the city council last night at like 10:30, 11:00. The whole bottom floor of this century-old building is filled with not only bicycle racks, but bicycles that fill them.
MAYOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: And city council members, the guards, everyone are riding in and out of the city council on their bicycles.
MAYOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Yeah. When I flew in, the fellow next to me on the plane is a hotshot young technology expert, makes a huge amount of money—doesn’t own a car, rides his bike. You know, he says, “It’s healthier. It’s more fashionable.” It’s—you know, it’s what his friends do. And I think that’s the whole thing that—when you get to public sentiment, I mean, what Lincoln was talking about. We need to change our public sentiment so people want to do these things. And it’s not government coming down and being punitive, but it’s creating a change, a transformation in our attitudes.
AMY GOODMAN: Damon Moglen, do you think the press is creating that—the education necessary for change, when you have a media in the United States, for example, brought to us by Exxon Mobil, brought to us by Chevron, brought to us by BP?
DAMON MOGLEN: Yeah, no, I don’t, unfortunately. I think that we are not seeing the kind of coverage that we need to be seeing. And I think at the same time that Mr. Obama himself needs to step up and talk more about climate change.