In our June newsletter, we announced the near unanimous approval of Complete Streets legislation by the St. Louis Board of Alderman. Last Thursday, Mayor Francis Slay signed that bill into law.
“This new law will make our City more livable for everyone,” said Mayor Slay. “We must consider cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users when designing our roadways. There are many ways other than a car to travel our City. This bill shows that St. Louis’ top engineers will consider everyone – not just those behind the wheel – when it comes to our streets.”
The law sets “guiding principles and practices to be considered in public transportation projects, where practicable, economically feasible, and in accordance with applicable law, so as to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use while promoting safe operations for all users.” It calls for complete streets to be incorporated in all strategic plans as well as other applicable manuals, rules, regulations, and programs.
The need for an incremental approach is smartly recognized, as is the the fact that successful implementation of complete streets policies means using all possible funding sources.
St. Louis’s law includes language that has been cropping up in other communities’ policies: a pledge to work with other agencies and organizations to promote complete streets and ensure connectivity between jurisdictions.
Such collaboration mirrors activities on the federal level, where the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development joined forces to promote sustainable, livable communities. Just last week, DOT and HUD officially launched the joint TIGER II Planning Grants and Sustainable Communities Challenge Grants to encourage and reward areas that are planning innovative, cross-agency projects that coordinate housing, economic development, and transportation investments.
At Thursday’s event, Mayor Slay was flanked by Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed, bill sponsor Alderman Shane Cohn, and Trailnet Executive Director Ann Mack. Trailnet has worked closely with City staff and elected officials for nearly two years to move a Complete Streets policy forward.
This victory brings Trailnet one step closer to achieving its goal of making the St. Louis region the most livable in the Midwest.