Complete streets consider the needs of all users — and are safer for walkers, bikers, and drivers.
Updated: a few edits made below, and links to bill and factsheet added.
The push for livable streets achieved a victory this week, as Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa) introduced an important piece of legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Carper (Delaware). The Complete Streets Act of 2008 would require state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations to consider the needs of all users when building new roads or improving existing roads. This is an important first step towards making Complete Streets the standard within the next transportation bill in 2009.
You can find Sen. Harkin’s full release here:
“Making our streets bike and pedestrian friendly is a win-win for us all,” said Harkin. “It not only promotes healthier lifestyles, it lowers the amount of traffic congestion that many people deal with every day.” Also, as recently as 30 years ago, up to 70 percent of children were walking or riding bikes to school. Currently, the number has dropped to only 10 percent. Parents report that traffic safety is the main reason they do not permit their children to walk or bike to school. This legislation will make our environment more inviting for physical activity, especially for kids.
Those of you who participated in the First Annual Smart Growth Advocacy Day in conjunction with the New Partners Conference back in February may remember lobbying your representatives on behalf of this bill. It is very important for us to show broad support for complete streets, so please call your Senator and ask them to co-sponsor S. 2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008 introduced by Senator Harkin. (Text of bill can be found here)
This fact sheet (pdf) will give you more information about what the bill does and the benefits of complete streets. We’d be happy to provide you with talking points or other information if you need it. Contact Stephanie Potts at spottsATsmartgrowthamericaDOTorg for more information.
We also expect Rep. Matsui (Calif.) to introduce companion legislation in the House down the road, so stay tuned for developments on that front.
Both photographs by Dan Burden