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The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) Board of Road Commissioners, at its regular meeting today (Thursday, Sept. 27), accepted a set of Complete Streets guidelines intended to steer the agency in its efforts to apply complete streets concepts to county roads.
The guidelines were compiled by the RCOC Complete Streets Review Committee, which, in addition to RCOC staff, included a number of county and local officials, transportation experts and others. The committee created the guidelines over the last 15 months.
“We strongly support the concept of complete streets and the idea that public roads should be as safe and accessible as possible for all legal users,” stated ROCC Chairman Eric Wilson. “These guidelines represent our commitment to that philosophy.”
The guidelines were adopted unanimously by the three-member RCOC Board. Board Member Ron Fowkes served on the Complete Streets Review Committee.
“This was a very constructive process,” Fowkes said of the committee’s work. “The committee included a broad spectrum of opinions related to complete streets, and that diversity of opinion is reflected in the guidelines. This document will guide this agency’s approach to all road users as we move forward.”
The guidelines also acknowledge that the agency must operate with the resources available. “We are wholly committed to complete streets and to all road users,” stated RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “But, we also acknowledge that resources are scarce, and that we have to balance the needs of various user groups.”
He added that the process of creating the Complete Streets Guidelines has reinforced for RCOC the critical importance of the agency’s partners in these efforts. “This process reminded us that we must work closely with all of our partners,” Kolar said, “especially the communities, and that this collaboration must come as early as possible in the road-project selection and design processes.”
The guidelines review the numerous groups of legal road users and their needs and discuss how they might be accommodated while acknowledging that Michigan is in the midst of a road-funding crisis that makes it hard for road agencies to merely maintain the existing road system. The guidelines sum up this challenge as follows: “Complete streets implementation, as a component of an improved, well-functioning transportation system, has entered the depleted scene of transportation financing, where it must compete for limited funding. State and local leaders are challenged to think in new ways about how to plan and fund the infrastructure that will provide for the future economic growth of the area.”
Download the RCOC Complete Streets Guidelines (PDF)
After the State Transportation Commission officially adopted a Complete Streets policy on July 26th, 2012, as required by PA 134 and PA 135 of 2010, the Michigan Department of Transportation wasted no time in getting the word out about the good news. Upon request from the Michigan Complete Streets Advisory Council, MDOT recently published this one-page leave behind regarding the new policy in an effort to help inform internal staff, as well as road commissions, municipalities, and other interest groups across the state.
The one-pager includes the following vision for Complete Streets in Michigan:
- A transportation network that is accessible, interconnected and multimodal and that safely and efficiently moves goods and people of all ages and abilities throughout the State of Michigan.
- A process that empowers partnerships to routinely plan, fund, design, construct, maintain and operate complete streets that respect context and community values.
- Outcomes that will improve economic prosperity, equity, accessibility, safety and environmental quality.
Download the one-pager or preview it below.
Reposted from LMB.org
CycleSafe to offer bike parking discounts to communities with Complete Streets and/or bike parking policies.
League of Michigan Bicyclists member [and Michigan Complete Streets Coalition partner], CycleSafe, Inc. is pleased to announce that they are now offering municipal discounts on their Michigan-made bicycle parking products to communities with either a Complete Streets resolution, Complete Streets ordinance, and/or a bike parking ordinance. The promotion is tiered, offering communities with ordinances larger discounts over communities with resolutions. Communities that have adopted both a Complete Streets ordinance and a bike parking ordinance are eligible for the greatest discounts.
CycleSafe manufactures a wide range of bicycle parking products from bicycle lockers and bicycle shelters to decorative bike racks, utilizing Michigan vendors with products still in use for over 30 years.
A letter from the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition will soon be mailed to all city council members, township supervisors, mayors and transportation officials in the over 50 Michigan communities who have adopted a Complete Streets ordinance or resolution congratulating them on their accomplishments and recommending a number of potential next steps on how to make their communities more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. The letter also references a number of available incentives for communities with Complete Streets policies, including this new bicycle parking discount.
Communities applying for the discount will need to provide a copy of their Complete Streets and/or bike parking policies and reference discount code MI-2012CS. For CycleSafe product information and to learn more about this new incentive, please contact CycleSafe by phone at (888) 950-6531 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.cyclesafe.com.
Reposted from LMB.org
FederalFederal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a policy statement in today’s Federal Register establishing that pedestrian improvements within a half mile radius of a transit facility and bicycle improvements within a 3-mile radius of the transit facility are considered to have a de facto relationship to the transit facility. This is great news as it simplifies the eligibility determinations for use of transit funds for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
The majority of FTA’s grant programs allow money to be spent on the design, construction, and maintenance of walking and biking projects that “enhance or are related to public transportation facilities.” But how do they determine if such a relationship exists? Until today’s announcement, the FTA had used 1,500 feet from the transit stop or station as the rule of thumb.
Additionally, in response to public comments, the FTA also included a stipulation that allows projects located beyond these distances to be eligible if walkers and cyclists could reasonable be expected to make longer trips.
LMB is extremely pleased that this new policy recognizes that successful transit depends on safe and convenient access to transit stops, especially within nearby walk and bike catch basins. Making bicycling and walking safe and attractive makes transit more accessible, practical and appealing. In addition, providing secure bike parking is far cheaper than building surface or structure automobile parking.
You can read the entire policy statement here and read more on the history of this significant policy change on the League of American Bicyclists’ blog. Below are a few excerpts specifically related to bicycling and complete streets.
“Distances beyond the ‘‘walkshed” of public transportation stops and stations may, in fact, be within the range of a short bicycle trip. Indeed, as one author stated, ‘‘[bicycles] are the perfect transportation choice for a short one- to three-mile trip to and from a transit station.” Providing secure parking and other amenities for bicycles and cyclists at public transportation stops or stations can be less expensive than providing parking for automobiles. Access to public transportation allows bicyclists the opportunity to make longer trips. Further, where physical conditions prevent a continuous bicycle trip, public transportation can provide a link to previously inaccessible destinations.”
“In addition, investing in a ‘complete street’ concept stimulates private-sector economic activity by increasing the viability of street-level retail small businesses and professional services, creating housing opportunities and extending the usefulness of school and transit facilities.” As one leading scholar noted, ‘‘Pedestrian and bicycle traffic use fewer resources and affect the environment less than any other form of transport.” If we are to create livable communities, ‘‘the range of transportation choices available to all Americans-including transit, walking, bicycling, and improved connectivity for various modes-must be expanded.”
On July 11, 2011, Birmingham’s City Commission passed a Complete Streets resolution in support of multi-modal transportation planning to improve travel choices in the city. The resolution directs city staff to develop a set of proposed policies and procedures to implement Complete Streets practices. The City Commission voted unanimously to support the resolution and recognizes that while the city has long prioritized walkability, additional work remains to serve all user groups. This resolution comes after several discussions at the Planning Board about the benefits of Complete Streets and approaches to implementation. The city will move forward with identifying the most effective way to implement Complete Streets practices in its road planning process and hopes to work with other communities throughout Michigan to ensure that the city is employing best practices. By passing the Complete Streets resolution, Birmingham renews its commitment to promoting safe and convenient mobility options and improving the quality of life for all its residents.
Bikes Belong, a national organization sponsored by the U.S. bicycle industry with the goal of putting more people on bicycles more often, is accepting applications for Community Partnership Grants. The grants are designed to foster and support partnerships between local governments, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses working to improve the environment for bicycling.
Grants of up to $10,000 will be largely will be awarded to fund the construction or expansion of bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, trails, and paths. The grants committee also will consider advocacy projects that promote bicycling as a safe and accessible mode of transportation.
To be eligible for a grant, a partnership must include collaboration between at least one city/county government office or department; one nonprofit organization with a mission specific to bicycling, trails, or recreation; and one local business.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently posted the following Complete Streets FAQ document to their website.
Reported by Paul Lamoureux, Northville Resident
With unanimous accord, the Northville City Council adopted a complete streets resolution at its regular meeting on Monday, June 20. The measure was hailed by its author and initial proponent, City Manger Patrick Sullivan, as a necessary first step toward the establishment of a comprehensive non-motorized master plan designed to link Northville residents with nearby communities of Novi and Plymouth. It turns out Mr. Sullivan has prior, job-related experience with non-motorized infrastructure and has experienced first hand the positive community and economic benefits when a community accommodates all modes of transportation.
Several interesting facts emerged during the discussion of the resolution. Novi, with its own complete streets resolution, was cited as an example of a community benefiting from its long-standing non-motorized plan whose residents have long sought better access to commercial downtown Northville. Residents of both communities also seek a method to bike and walk to nearby Maybury State Park, a presently unsupported route and primary goal for the future. Finally, some expressed support for a better, biker-friendly connection between downtown Northville and Hines Park terminating at the city’s southern border.
A pair of Northville resident League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) members first approached the City Manager just a few short months ago to communicate the complete streets message. The city then availed itself of the resources provided by micompletestreets.org and the Michigan Municipal League. Upon passage of the resolution, City Council expressed their interest in further support from LMB in the drafting and implementation of the non-motorized master plan and expressed their gratitude for their leadership thus far in the process.
Marquette, Ludington, Lake Isabella, Acme Twp. and Owosso join the growing list of supportive communities!
While we have been a little behind in updating this site the past few weeks, it certainly doesn’t mean there hasn’t been news worth posting about complete streets in Michigan. In fact, we are pleased to report that there have been five complete streets resolutions adopted across the state recently.
On May 9th, both the Cities of Marquette and Ludington adopted complete streets resolutions at their respective City Council meetings. The Mining Journal and the Ludington Daily News both covered the passage of these resolutions.
We also received word this month from Lake Isabella Village Manager Tim Wolff that their Village Council also adopted a complete streets resolution.
As reported on My Wheels are Turning, Acme Township became the first community in Grand Traverse County to endorse Complete Streets at their June 7th Board of Trustees meeting. They join a handful of other townships across the state who have also recently adopted complete streets resolutions. While we are extremely encouraged by the action of these communities, it still remains to be seen what sort of impact these policies will ultimately have since county road commissions actually are the ones who have jurisdiction over roads within townships. Ultimately we hope that we are seeing the beginning of a fruitful dialog between Michigan’s 1200+ townships and the 80+ county road commissions.
It also looks like we might see more complete streets policies coming out of northern Michigan in the near future. According to the Petoskey News Northeast Michigan Council of Governments and Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance are cooperating to offer complete streets training sessions in Emmet and Alpena Counties at the end of this month.
And lastly, as we reported yesterday, Owosso also recently adopted a complete streets resolution. This brings Michigan to a total of 38 known local resolutions and six ordinances in addition to our statewide law. According to Holly Madill, Complete Streets Project Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health, approximately 2,659,080 people, 27% of Michigan’s population now lives in a community that has endorsed complete streets either through a resolution or ordinance.
Over the last four years, New York City has seen a transportation renaissance on its streets, striking a better balance by providing more space for walking, biking, and transit.
As with any departure from the status quo, it can take a while for everyone to grow accustomed to the changes. So Streetfilms decided to look at three of NYC’s most recent re-designs — Columbus Avenue, First and Second Avenues, and Prospect Park West — and show how pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers benefit from safer, calmer streets. We talked to transportation engineers with decades of experience, elected leaders, community board members, people on the street, and business owners to get their take on the new configurations.