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Complete Streets As Common Sense

Community Discussion for Complete Streets

Tuesday, April 5th • 5:30-8PM • Traverse Area District Library

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Complete Streets? If you ask me, it is fundamentally common sense. People are everywhere and they want choices; provide for them. Complete streets are “safe, comfortable and convenient for travel for everyone, regardless of age or ability” or mode (National Complete Streets).

Last year, Michigan became the 14th state to pass Complete Streets legislation. The bills passed provide clear direction to road agencies to carry out the principle. It also created strong incentive for local communities to adopt ordinances or resolutions in favor of street construction that includes planning and provisions for all users. To date, 36 Michigan cities have adopted complete streets. Traverse City hasn’t, although it is mentioned in our infrastructure policy (PDF).

Tomorrow night, TART is convening an introductory discussion for complete streets and the opportunities for community organizing around the concept.  We will have a chance to assess what a more deliberate approach to complete streets may mean for a better connected community. Pursuing a complete street ordinance for the city, area townships and villages, or a regional manifesto are all open for discussion.

The ten elements of Complete Streets. The following is a list of ten items that the national Complete Streets organization sees as required for any policy.

  • Sets a Vision: a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets
  • Specifies all Users: specifies that ‘all users’ includes pedestrians, bicyclists and transit passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as trucks, buses and automobiles.
  • Connected Networks: encourages street connectivity and aims to create a comprehensive, integrated, connected network for all modes.
  • All agencies and all Roads: is adoptable by all agencies to cover all roads.
  • Complete (All Projects): Applies to both new and retrofit projects, including design, planning, maintenance, and operations, for the entire right of way.
  • Exceptions: Makes any exceptions specific and sets a clear procedure that requires high-level approval of exceptions.
  • Design Criteria: Directs the use of the latest and best design criteria and guidelines while recognizing the need for flexibility in balancing user needs.
  • Context-sensitive: Directs that complete streets solutions will complement the context of the community.
  • Performance Measures: establishes performance standards with measurable outcomes.
  • Implementation: Includes specific next steps for implementation of the policy

See you tomorrow night.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Publishing this blog is fun; it keeps me exploring inclusive use of our public space. In a normal week, it takes anywhere from 15-20 hours to curate. If you enjoy and find value in the information and discussion that occurs here, your contribution to the initiative ($5, $25, $50 or more) will generate smiles and confirmation that this work is on the right track. Thank you.


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