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Old 04-09-10, 07:11 PM   #1
gerv 
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Small Mid West City talking Complete Streets

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this article about how a "Complete Streets" strategy would make a few targeted streets safer and accessible for cyclists and peds. Apparently now the only obstacle is... well... the residents.

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City officials will explain the policy to make streets friendly to vehicle, bike and pedestrian traffic.
City leaders hope to avoid future dust-ups with residents about street bicycle lanes by educating residents about the city's "complete streets" policy.

Adopted in 2008, the policy is a guide to make streets friendly to vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

"A complete street is one that provides for all kinds of movement," said Gary Fox, the city's traffic engineer. "It's a new name for some of the same things that we have been doing for years, but on-street bicycling is not something that we've done as much with."
Basically, the city has become convinced of the benefits of bike lanes and more support for peds (particularly at crossings). Local businesses are apparently adamantly opposed, but the city feels the sentiment will quickly swing their way once the paint is dry and businesses get to see more traffic.

Isn't it great when city government is on your side?
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Old 04-10-10, 05:59 AM   #2
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I almost fell out of my chair when I read this article about how a "Complete Streets" strategy would make a few targeted streets safer and accessible for cyclists and peds. Apparently now the only obstacle is... well... the residents.



Basically, the city has become convinced of the benefits of bike lanes and more support for peds (particularly at crossings). Local businesses are apparently adamantly opposed, but the city feels the sentiment will quickly swing their way once the paint is dry and businesses get to see more traffic.

Isn't it great when city government is on your side?
Businesses are always opposed out of ignorance, they think that close parking is the only thing that will bring in customers. They are also convinced that anyone that rides a bike is a loser. I fought this battle with a small town where we had a retail store several years ago. We no longer have the store and the town still has no cycling facilities...

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Old 04-10-10, 04:50 PM   #3
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My city (Lansing) passed a complete streets ordinance on the ballot last year--first Michigan city to do so. The activist who started the CS movement was also elected to dity council and I think she has a good shot at mayor.

One key to getting CS passed is to convince business owners that it's good for the city's prosperity and good for business in general. Retirees are the other big demographic group to get working on it. Bike advocates alone will not be able to get enough support for this kind of program, IMO.
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Old 04-10-10, 08:11 PM   #4
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Roody, it's funny how big a role businesses play in these decisions. But it's equally true that businesses can be persuaded in either direction. In Des Moines, there are a couple of examples where an influx of cyclists and I suppose trail walkers have really helped businesses in other areas. These successes are pretty obvious for any astute business person.

Des Moines is a big recreational cycling town, many people cycle and take a week off to go on RAGBRAI. Our current mayor is a big-time cyclist and himself a business owner in one of the affected streets (and he is a big supporter of the project.)

One way the whole deal was sold to businesses was that the city would re-stripe the street to reduce car lanes, add bike lanes and cross-walks. In 6/8 months the project will be re-evaluated. The cycling community is intent on getting the troops out during this period. There have been a number of big "cycling days" planned for the district involved and I'm pretty sure most businesses will actually see an increase in business.

I think you are right about needing more than bike advocacy groups. Unfortunately the pedestrians and retirees in this town aren't as organized as the bicycling community, so that might be a somewhat negative thing.
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Old 04-10-10, 08:26 PM   #5
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Same here. Our Mayor is even riding in TOSRV! While setback by the recession, Columbus is moving ahead with becoming a more bike friendly city. The bike paths are being extended and connected. Sharrows are planned along the main corridor, however businesses, as above, are pissing and moaning. They do not want to lose the parking but crap, how often can you find a parking spot out front on anything in this town? Not often. There is a fair amount of bike advocacy here too.
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Old 04-11-10, 11:31 AM   #6
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I live in Carlisle, PA. Pop around 20,000 or so in the middle of a bright red part of a barely blue state. The city pushed through a complete streets movement last year, and to judge from the voices I hear, people are pissed off about it. But it will be done this summer. I am looking forward to it vastly changing the town for the better. And if it does not, then I expect that the town leadership will be run to the edge of town.

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Old 04-11-10, 03:01 PM   #7
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I'm glad bicycle support in Rochester seems to be a more-or-less foregone conclusion. There's a lovely and ever expanding network of MUPs in the area, and we're starting to see more effort at making the roads more bike- and ped-friendly. The tourism and inter-town pseudo-tourism the Erie Canal Trail brings certainly helps convince people.

We're no Portland, but we're getting there.
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Old 04-11-10, 04:35 PM   #8
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I live in Carlisle, PA. Pop around 20,000 or so in the middle of a bright red part of a barely blue state. The city pushed through a complete streets movement last year, and to judge from the voices I hear, people are pissed off about it. But it will be done this summer. I am looking forward to it vastly changing the town for the better. And if it does not, then I expect that the town leadership will be run to the edge of town.

jim
I'm glad that activists in my city decided to go the route of getting Complete Streets passed on the ballot, rather than just enacted by City Council. It probably took a lot more time and money to do it that way, but now it can be said that the people want room for non-motorized traffic--even though we are one of the major auto-producing cities in the world.

It's great reading here about the efforts being taken for Complete Streets all over the country. IMO, this is mainly a local issue--even though it is shared by almost every community in America, if not the world. Local action is the way to make a difference--and one voice (yours or mine) has a real impact on this level.
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