By Bob Krzewinski, Chair of the City of Ypsilanti Non-Motorized Advisory Committee

Over the summer of 2011, the City Council of the City of Ypsilanti voted on, and approved, a Complete Streets ordinance, becoming the 8th Michigan community to locally put Complete Streets into law.  The Ypsilanti Complete Streets ordinance takes effect on September 17th, thirty days after the last of two required votes by City Council.

Complete Streets policies ensure that when roads are constructed, or rebuilt, they are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities can move safely along and across a Complete Street. They improve public safety and reduce crashes by providing dedicated pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, such as safe crosswalks, sidewalks and on-road bicycle facilities such as bike lanes and sharrows.

Complete Streets also have an extra benefit in that they tend to boost local economies by increasing residential property values.  Demand for walkable communities is growing across the country and home buyers are often willing to pay a premium to live in areas where they can safely walk and bike. Businesses located along Complete Streets corridors also often report increased sales after pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities are installed.

Complete Streets also promotes public health by making it safe and convenient for children and families to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. With Michigan’s rampant obesity epidemic, Complete Streets provides a golden opportunity to replace our crumbling transportation infrastructure with safe and convenient active transportation options.

By passing a Complete Streets ordinance, the City of Ypsilanti joins scores of communities across Michigan that are embracing Complete Streets, including Washtenaw County neighbors in Saline, Dexter and Ann Arbor.

With rising gasoline prices, more and more Michigan residents are walking and bicycling for both transportation and recreation. Complete Streets ordinances, such as recently enacted by the City of Ypsilanti, will certainly help make such activates not only more possible, but easier and safer.

Download Ypsilanti’s Complete Streets ordinance here.

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