Jun 1, 2009

More details on Complete Streets

The Complete Street movement is about enacting smarter public policy that benefits everyone which results in increased safety(1), improved quality of life and health, reduced congestion and is more fiscally sound. It has been already adopted by eleven states, including the State of Illinois; also DuPage County, City of Chicago and over 80 communities around the country(2) including Philadelphia on June 5 of this year(3). Complete Streets is widely supported by groups ranging from the National Realtors Association, the YMCA, AARP and the Institute of Transportation Engineers who themselves became to be known the last half-century as the "throughput crowd" for focusing solely on increased roadway capacity and speeds while not being inclusive of all users and without consideration of other benefits. So it would appear that those not yet on-board with Complete Streets might now be said to be old school and hopefully will become a minority. Also for a federal policy, the “Complete Streets Act of 2009” is now before Congress.

(1) In the US every 113 minutes a pedestrian or cyclists is killed by a motor vehicle and every 8 minutes one is injured or paralyzed. It may be interesting to note that this is 3x the current rate of Germany which was historically also a motor vehicle centric country but has now worked hard for years on reforming their street policy. Source http://www.postwritersgroup.com/archives/peir071209.htm. Studies have shown just a few Complete Street policy implementations can reduce risks 28% to 40% while increasing safety for drivers as well. See http://www.completestreets.org/webdocs/federal/cs-2009pressrelease.pdf. While bikes and pedestrians account for 13% of all road fatalities they received less than 1% of safety education funds. Engineering, Education and Enforcement are three keys. See http://www.wdef.com/news/complete_streets_legislation_could_improve_safety_for_chattanooga_cyclists/03/2009

(2) For an up to date atlas where Complete Streets policy has been enacted see: http://www.completestreets.org/complete-streets-fundamentals/complete-streets-atlas/

(3) See June 5 entry on http://www.completestreets.org/news-blog/blog/

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