Aug 31, 2009

Highland Park Moves on Complete Streets

Only a year after our cycling advocates Bruce Rosenzweig and Jay Fried were injured in Barrington Hills on a nice Sunday morning Velo Club Roubaix road cycling club ride and this North Suburban advocacy group was formed, one area town has voted to adopt Complete Streets!

Wednesday August 26, 2009 the Highland Park Traffic Commission finally met to hear a presentation on Complete Streets by two capable Active Trans folks, one being Lina who we helped get hired. And the Commission unanimously voted to recommend that Highland Park adopt a Complete Streets policy!

After Active Trans’ short presentation some Highland Park residents got up to speak in favor of Complete Streets. I watched the meeting unfold and I must give kudos to our own advocate Elliott Rosen who helped turned the tide in our favor. Elliot was able to speak with the authority of a Highland Park citizen; he spoke without any prepared remarks, in a positive manner about Highland Park, and he clearly called on Highland Park to be better for the sake of those like him and his family who don’t want to be captive to their cars and might want to occasionally enjoy safer and better travel around by bicycle. If that itself did not seal the deal it was when Elliott said he would be personally willing to volunteer to help on a Highland Park Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force which will likely be needed to advise the City on a going-forward basis about how to apply the Policy.

One Commission board member said it well before the vote when he realized that this is a whole new way of thinking about traffic movement and he could see how it might eventually affect the way the City approaches every project. Right he is! Complete Streets looks at how best to move around people--not just motor vehicles. It puts people first, and that includes when we the people, use our public roadways for movement other than in our cars, like for cycling!

Highland Park may be one of the first jurisdictions in the country to have a COMPLETE Complete Streets policy because all roadways within the City, no matter their jurisdictions, may soon be under such a policy:

  • There is a now a Federal policy, which covers jurisdiction over national highways
  • There is now an Illinois policy, which covers state highways. This is as of last year and also thanks in part to Active Trans!
  • There soon should be a Lake County policy which will cover the county roads. Our group has also helped with that.
  • When Highland Park adopts a policy, all roads through Highland Park would then be covered, no matter whose jurisdiction they may fall under!

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