Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Complete Streets Succeeds

A recent article by the Barbara McCann, the Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition is relevant to Lee County's complete streets implementation efforts. Click here to read the full article. The success of the complete streets movement stems from its focus on simple, accessible, society-wide change. As the national transportation expert and PPS leader Gary Toth states in a post at the end, "The Complete Streets movement HAS done more to effect needed change to the dismal state of our streets than every other movement combined..."
Here's the beginning of the article...
When we started the Complete Streets movement, we didn’t look at where we would like every community to arrive. We looked at where communities are now.

We devised what turned out to be a highly successful path to change, and now want to reiterate our change model in light of the recent New York City-based Project for Public Spaces musing on whether Complete Streets are ‘incomplete’ and other questions we get about whether Complete Streets goes far enough.

For most of the United States, the starting point is a pretty grim place. Simply put, there aren’t many sidewalks out there — and a lot of older adults, children, and low-income people are using ‘goat paths’ as the cars whiz by.

A fundamental shift is needed in what transportation agencies see as their job. It isn’t to move cars; it is to safely move people. But since auto-mobility has been the dominant transportation paradigm for more than a half-century, that change is not an easy task. It requires strong leadership – and political and community support.

That’s what Complete Streets policies do. A Complete Streets policy simply makes clear to a transportation agency that its job is to provide for the safe travel of all users of the transportation system. From that commitment, a whole cascade of changes can begin to take place.

In many communities that cascade will grow to include place-making, smart growth strategies, and streets that are built and managed sustainably. We applaud and support this progression.

But look again at the pictures on this page. Check out this new map of road fatalities. In much of the United States, it is a huge victory to simply stop the bleeding by ending the belief that a transportation agency can conduct its business as if people don’t walk, ride buses or bikes, or have disabilities.

Click here to continue reading.

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