Confirmed: Interest In Advancing Complete Streets
* I almost forgot, thank you also to TART Trails and the Cherry Capital Cycling Club for convening the discussion. Ding! Ding!
NOTE: If you attended last night’s meeting, first, thank you for coming. Secondly, I’m interested in your continued feedback and perspective. Please leave a comment here as this post is in no way trying to comprehensively cover all that was discussed. Also, if questions or comments came to you after you left, please share them here or send me a message so that I may include them in the follow-up compilation. Constructive criticism is welcome.
As anticipated, last night’s complete streets discussion showed that there is a strong interest in advancing complete streets policy and implementation in Traverse City and the surrounding region. Over 60 people gathered for the meeting that provided a primer on the complete streets legislation and concept, as well as the argument for utilizing the opportunity to build a coalition to champion a shared vision.
As one of the facilitators, I have to say it was a tough crowd; in a good way.
The mix of participants covered a wide spectrum of experience. There were individuals who had barely heard of complete streets to regional luminaries who have worked on transportation issues as both volunteers, commissioners and road agency employees for over 20-years. To the latter, complete streets isn’t new; to the former, complete streets seems like common sense–Yes, build our community for everyone…if only it was so easy (added).
The next step is to compile the comments, interests and questions raised last night into a report back to the participants and others interested. You can send me message below if you’d like to be added. There will then be a follow-up discussion to divide up some specific tasks.
Briefly, a few of the main issues to arise were an obvious community interest in safety, and it’s connection to complete streets. Also, repeated around the room was a lack of accessibility to the decision-making process. There is obvious latent demand to be involved, but for a lot people information and the process are too difficult to follow, let alone contribute to. A large part of the concept behind complete streets is directly related to these concerns.
Communications via local and state road agencies, and government in general, need to be addressed. The attraction for instituting complete streets policy, for the average Jane, is that the concept is easily understood and requires input throughout the scope of projects beyond traditional standards. I’d argue that the bar for communication strategies focused on engagement need to be raised parallel, if not ahead of, the expectations for improvements in the infrastructure. As I’ve said before, our streets are too important to leave solely to engineers. When it comes to public space, the community is an expert.
I look forward to the process to come.
P.S. Pop-quiz results from last night to follow.