Monday, August 10, 2009

Qualls motion asks for Complete Streets strategy

Cincinnati City councilmember Roxanne Qualls has introduced a motion calling for the City's streets policy to be inclusive of all forms of transportation, which she says will make streets safer and more accommodating and will lead to economic development.

Known as Complete Streets, the policies provide the framework for user-friendly streets, promoting transportation solutions that better integrate land use and transportation investments – thereby leading to better placemaking.

Fifty-four government entities across the country, including the City of Columbus, have implemented Complete Streets legislation or policies, Qualls says. Council passed a resolution supporting the federal Complete Streets Act of 2009 in April.

"Streets are the public living room of a community," she said in a statement accompanying the motion. "If designed for people and community, they create the public spaces that create neighborhood identity and character and support economic activity and social interaction."

The City's Department of Transportation and Engineering is currently preparing a city-wide streets policy, using funds allocated in the 2009-2010 biennial budget for the Neighborhood Transportation Strategies and Innovative Transportation Strategies projects.

Qualls wants the new streets policy be integrated into the Copmprehensive Plan, Bicycle Plan, and Form-Based Codes initiatives, all currently under development.

In the motion, Qualls suggests the following guiding principles for the development of a new streets policy:

  • "All users" includes pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation passengers of all ages and abilities, in addition to trucks, buses, and automobiles
  • The safety, convenience and comfort of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and members of the community will be accommodated and balanced when planning and designing streets, except where the use of modes of transportation are prohibited by law or deemed unsafe or impractical
  • All types of transportation and development projects will be considered through all phases of the project, including design, planning, maintenance and operations for the entire right-of-way
  • Transportation improvements will include facilities and amenities recognized as contributing to Complete Streets, including street and sidewalk lighting, pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, access improvements (such as ADA compliance), public transit accommodations, street trees and landscaping, drainage and green infrastructure, and street amenities
  • That Complete Streets be achieved through single projects, or incrementally over time through normal maintenance and replacement
  • All sources of transportation funding should be drawn upon to implement Complete Streets, in order to leverage existing transportation dollars, minimize the cost of new facilities, and reduce the need for retrofits
According to Qualls, modern street design has emphasized moving cars through neighborhoods, instead of treating neighborhoods as destinations.

"Cincinnati's streets policy should work to preserve and enhance the unique compact, walkable competitive advantage of Cincinnati's neighborhoods by recognizing that city streets are more than corridors for traffic flow," she said. "Streets are valuable public spaces that must be designed and managed to allow access to pedestrian, bicycling, and public transportation users; support neighborhood business districted by reducing real – not posted – traffic speed and enhancing pedestrian access; and improve safety."

Qualls hopes to receive a report from City administration by November.

"Complete Streets policies can transform a corridor into a place that is memorable, compelling, and desirable to visit, and reposition the street as a vital neighborhood asset," Qualls said.

Sacramento Midtown photo courtesy of via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0. Manhattan photo courtesy of team_klzwick as part of the Wikis Take Manhattan project, October 4, 2008, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0.

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnati passes support for complete streets (4/13/09)



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