Wouldn’t it be great if we could show our support for “alternative” transportation in Columbus? Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of comprehensive transportation policy that took into account all people, not just car drivers? Wouldn’t it be great if that policy already existed, and it just needed to be adopted by our city engineers and city council, as opposed to being built from scratch?
Well it’s Thanksgiving early, because that policy DOES exist and you get your chance to show your support for it next week! (cheesy, I know)
The policy is called Complete Streets, and the first meeting about it is next Thursday. 3:30 PM at Columbus City Council Chambers. If you go, it’s not a forum for public comment. As raamjeff on ConsiderBiking put it:
“your attendance is encouraged, and a full room will send a message that there are many folks that want to learn more about the Complete Streets Policy… [and be] willing to provide input in the near future, and help advocate for the policy when needed. So please consider attending.”
http://www.completestreets.org/ The city of Chicago and the state of Illinois have adopted this policy. The bottom line is that a Complete Streets Law will require planning and construction for pedestrians and bicyclists, in ALL transportation projects. (Keep reading for the official announcement.)
Below is the official announcement for the Columbus meeting – all emphases mine. It will be taped for the public access channel.
Meeting Announcement: Complete Streets and Routine AccommodationNovember 29, 2007
3:30 PM City Council Chambers
Hosted by: Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, Chair
Public Service & Transportation Committee Columbus City Engineer Randall Bowman and his staff will present to council members and staff the status of the Transportation Division’s Complete Streets Policy. Complete Streets policies encourage transportation planners and traffic engineers to consistently design streets with all users in mind. Features of a complete street may include sidewalks and pedestrian lighting, bike lanes, improved transit stops, marked crosswalks with safety features, street trees, refuge medians, audible pedestrian signals and sidewalk bulb-outs to shorten walking distance and encourage safe non-car travel.
Complete Streets improve safety for all users. Designing streets with pedestrians and bicycles in mind reduces risk. A Federal Highway Administration safety review found that adding complete street features may reduce pedestrian risk by nearly 30%.
Complete Streets encourage biking and walking. Many health organizations, including the Columbus Health Department, believe that we can help reduce obesity and related health problems by implementing policies that allow physical activity in public spaces.
Complete Streets help ease transportation challenges. About one third of Americans don’t drive cars, and as our population ages, this number will increase. More than one quarter of all car trips are one mile or less, and complete streets provide travel choices, giving people the option to avoid traffic congestion, increasing the overall capacity of our transportation network.
Complete Streets make fiscal sense. Integrating sidewalks, bike lanes, transit amenities and safe crossings into project design from the beginning spares taxpayers expensive retrofits later. Please join Council member Maryellen O’Shaughnessy to learn more about Complete Streets from our transportation division leaders.