Rep. Jon Switalski (D - Warren) Pushes For Complete Streets in Michigan

Rep. Jon Switalski (D - Warren) Pushes For Complete Streets in Michigan

LANSING, MI – June 18, 2009 – Representative Jon Switalski introduced Complete Streets language to the House version of the transportation bill this morning. With little debate, the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee passed Section 399 of Senate Bill No. 254 H-1. The substitute language states, “The department [MDOT] and local road agencies that receive appropriations under this act shall adopt complete street policies.” (See complete language below)

Today’s passage marks the first efforts by the Michigan Legislator to adopt a statewide Complete Streets policy to build and maintain roadways that accommodate all roadway users “particularly public transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians (including individuals of all ages and individuals with mobility, sensory, neurological, or hidden disabilities), and motorists, to enable all travelers to use the roadway safely and efficiently.”

Complete Streets is a top legislative priority for the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB), which is strongly encouraging bicyclists to write thank you notes to supportive Subcommittee members. (Emails of supporters are listed in a separate discussion item.)

Section 399 was passed within the transportation funding bill, meaning it will not actually be incorporated into any existing statute and would be valid for the duration of one year – the period the funding bill covers.

Since the State Senate and House passed different versions of the funding bill, it has been referred back to a Joint Conference Committee to resolve the differences. “The cycling community will need strong advocates to insure the Complete Streets language stays in the final version,” said John Lindenmayer, LMB Associate Director. “Additionally, since this provision would sunset after a year, LMB will continue to work with the cycling community and partner Complete Streets advocates to push forward strong supplemental legislation.”

The breakdown of votes fell on party lines. Supporting the measure were Representatives: Lee Gonzales (D), Richard LeBlanc (D), Doug Bennett (D), Robert Dean (D), Jon Switalski (D) and Marie Donigan (D). Opposed were Representatives: David Agema (R) and Paul Opsommer (R). Representative Shanelle Jackson (D) was absent.

Actual language of Section 399:

Senate Bill No. 254 H-1

Rep. Switalski moved to amend the bill as follows:

Amend page 30, following line ____, by inserting:

“Sec. 399. The department and local road agencies that receive appropriations under this act shall adopt complete street policies. In planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of streets and highways, the department and local road agencies shall adhere to the adopted complete street policy.

As used in this section, “complete street” means a roadway that accommodates all travelers, particularly public transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians (including individuals of all ages and individuals with mobility, sensory, neurological, or hidden disabilities), and motorists, to enable all travelers to use the roadway safely and efficiently.

As used in this section, “complete street policy” means a state or local law, ordinance, or policy that ensures:

(A) the adequate accommodation, in all phases of project planning and development, of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit users, children, older individuals, motorists, and individuals with disabilities; and

(B) the consideration of the safety and convenience of all users in all phases of project planning and development.

The department shall provide assistance to and coordinate with local road agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations in developing complete street policies.”

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