Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lee County's complete streets 2012 implementation report

On March 20th, staff made a presentation on the complete streets 2012 implementation report to the Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC).  BikeWalkLee applauds the excellent report and provides its highlights of the 2012 accomplishments.

The Complete Streets Resolution (09-11-13) adopted by the Lee Board of County Commissioners on November 10, 2009, included a requirement for an annual report on the implementation status. The 2012 report, the third annual report, was transmitted to the BoCC last month, and was presented at the Feb. 20th CSAC meeting.  All three annual reports are available online.

At the March 20th CSAC meeting the County's Sustainability Director, Tessa LeSage, assisted by LeeDOT's Andy Getch, presented an excellent PowerPoint summary of the 2012 report to the Committee.  BWL's Darla Letourneau spoke during the public comment period, thanking Tessa and Andy and the complete streets internal team, and the CSAC for their ongoing work to integrate complete streets in county's policies and practices. 

Below are highlights of BikeWalkLee's assessment of the most important accomplishments this year:
  1.  GIS complete streets evaluation tool has been refined and released publicly, with training for other jurisdictions and interested parties. Using this visual tool is the best way to break down silos between departments and agencies and to promote integrated and holistic planning.  The county has provided an exciting tool that helps the entire county do business in a different way.  The challenge ahead is to get cities and planning communities and others to use this tool is discussing projects and exploring options.  A special thanks to Hunter Wynn, GIS coordinator, for his outstanding contributions to this effort.     
  2. prioritization of complete streets project recommendations.  The internal complete streets team has done an excellent job for the past 3 years of analyzing resurfacing contracts for complete streets opportunities.  This year's accomplishment was to begin prioritizing that list for consideration in the development of the CIP.  Last year's CIP included a few of the projects from this list and we're hopeful that more will be included next year.
  3. Integrating complete streets principles into every aspect of the Horizon 2035 Plan. The report    does an excellent job of reviewing all the work that this committee has done in reviewing the draft elements of the Horizon 2035 Plan to ensure that the complete streets policy and principles are fully integratedThe Office of Sustainability and CSAC deserve a great deal of credit for the contributions to this process.
  4. STEM outreachOne of the most exciting accomplishments has been Tessa and Andy's role in taking complete streets to area high school STEM programs and college students, taking students out on the streets to explore walkability concepts.  This  outreach efforts is planting seeds in our community for the future, and engaging students in a way that encourages them to participate in our community as citizens and potentially future workers. These efforts have also gotten media attention, further amplifying the message.
  5.  CIP review process.    2012 was the second year of the modified planning and budgeting process and the first year of CSAC and its complete streets working group's review of the draft CIP.  The staff did an excellent job of ensuring that all planned road projects included bike/ped facilities in their designs.
    As BWL stated in its June letter to BoCC, the next step is to analyze the merits of road projects in terms of the broader complete streets and sustainability goals.  Taking a complete streets approach would save the county money, as we saw in the 5 road projects that were shifted to complete street designs in the LRTP amendments in 2012, which saved an estimated $59 M (or an average of 43% reduction from planned costs). Not only is this approach more cost-effective, it advances the county's vision of making our communities more livable and our streets safer for everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

BikeWalkLee is not responsible for the validity of any comment posted at this site and has the right to remove any comment at any time.