Safe Routes Scoop

10 Questions With Charles Carmalt

biking. This new interest has led to a subsequent increase in the number of recreational bicyclists and walkers.


5.) In the next 10 years, what do you see as the biggest factors that will affect bicycling or walking in NJ, either positive or negative?

I feel like we have done a lot towards establishing legitimacy for both travel modes. As a result, more facilities will be constructed and more people will use them, which is the most important thing. While the price of gas may have helped move some people towards walking and biking, in reality this factor has been more important for transit. Sustainability issues are a much bigger factor in encouraging people to consider walking and bicycling, and will continue to have a big impact as people recognize that we need viable alternatives to cars.


6.) As you are likely aware, many of us consider you a transportation guru. Let's imagine you are given the opportunity to issue Five Commandments to your transportation “followers” to improve bicycling and walking.  What would they be?

#1 Get others on board. Try to use tactics that will not get others with differing opinions angry at you. Present the legitimate issues, but always treat others with respect.

#2 Always look at the details of a project. There is not always only one

solution; there are many that could be appropriate. You must understand the site-specific issues for each project and know that there isn’t always a right or a wrong way. Instead of simply saying yes or no to a project, we need to see how we can resolve our differences and problems best. There are ways to work together and a variety of solutions to make pedestrians and bicyclists feel comfortable on roadways.

#3 In the end, it is the land use/transportation relationship that matters the most. The best bike/ped facilities in the world won’t be used if nobody is there to use them. 

#4 Having a good pedestrian facility on a street doesn’t necessarily mean you need a sidewalk in every situation.

#5 Similarly, accommodating bicyclists doesn’t mean that you need a bike lane everywhere.


7.) Tell us a about your new position with the City of Philadelphia.  What will you be working on?

I’m still in the process of learning all the details about my job. I’m the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator in the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities. I am there to manage bicycle and pedestrian issues, determine what new initiatives are needed, and to implement new ideas.


Bike lanes have brought a lot of people out. Bike parking in Center

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