Complete Streets Champions Receive Legislative Leadership Award

Congresswoman Matsui, AARP Associate State Director of Advocacy Nina Weiler-Harwell, and ocal AARP members.
Congresswoman Matsui, AARP Associate State Director of Advocacy Nina Weiler-Harwell, and ocal AARP members.

For their efforts to improve the lives of older adults and their families, AARP awarded Representative Doris Matsui (CA-5) and Representative Steven LaTourette (OH-14) with Legislative Leadership awards. The awards recognized both Congress members for championing federal Complete Streets legislation in the 111th Congress.

A transportation system that prioritizes fast automobile travel has created roads that are difficult to navigate or unsafe to travel by foot, bike, or public transportation — a problem that is particularly trying for older adults. In 2008, older pedestrians were overrepresented in fatalities: while comprising 13% of the population, they accounted for 18% of the fatalities.

And by 2025, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that nearly one in five Americans will be over the age of 65, totaling 62 million Americans.

“I’m convinced that Complete Streets is a good piece of legislation… it not only has my co-sponsorship; it has my full support.” - Representative LaTouretteMultiply that by the fact that almost 40% of Americans currently over the age of 50 report their neighborhoods lack safe sidewalks and over 55% report inadequate bicycling facilities, and you have a pretty bleak vision for the future.

Aging should not be accompanied by a loss of independence and access to necessary services, like doctors, grocery stores, and places for healthy exercise. Our roads should not keep grandparents from their grandchildren or from socializing with friends.

We’re thrilled AARP recognized Representatives Matsui and LaTourette for their work to advance Complete Streets policies. A community with a Complete Streets policy considers the needs of older residents every time a transportation investment decision is made. Our champions understand Complete Streets are key to ensuring older adults can “age in place” — they won’t need to leave their community in order to stay connected. We look forward to working along side them to promote Complete Streets in the 112th Congress.

For more on planning our transportation system to support the needs of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, check out the AARP Public Policy Institute report Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America.

Complete Streets