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Both Complete Streets bills (HB 6151 and HB 6152) were presented to Governor Granholm last Thursday afternoon. Late Sunday, she signed them both into law.

They were sent to the Secretary of State’s office on Monday, August 2 as Public Acts 134 and 135 of 2010.

Congratulations to everyone who helped make this possible!

Of course the work is just beginning. These bills really just set the stage for implementing Complete Streets throughout Michigan.

The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition is encouraging supporters to send the bill sponsors a quick thank you message:

Representative Jon Switalski Representative Pam Byrnes
jonswitalski@house.mi.gov pambyrnes@house.mi.gov
(517) 373-1772 (517) 373-0828
State Capitol State Capitol
P.O. Box 30014 P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48908 Lansing, MI 48908


* Michigan is the 14th state to adopt Complete Streets legislation, and the 22nd state to adopt any form of a policy such as department directives.

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After months of hard work and deliberation, the Michigan House of Representatives passed Complete Streets legislation in overwhelming fashion! H.B. 6151 passed with a vote of 85 – 21, and H.B. 6152 with a vote of 84-22. The Coalition would like to thank everyone for their support and testimony…congratulations! Now it’s on to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Media:

R to L: A panel of supporters including the County Road Association of Michigan, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, AARP and Representative Jon Switalski testifying in support of HB 6151 and 6152.

The House Transportation Committee voted unanimously to pass  HB 6151 and HB 6152 out of committee, with recommendations. This is a big success for Complete Streets, and the Coalition would like to thank all of the stakeholders who worked hard to negotiate a bill that was eventually able to garner such strong support. We would especially like to thank Rep. Wayne Schmidt for his leadership on this issue, as well as Rep. Pam Byrnes, Rep. John Switalski and their staffs, who put a lot of effort to achieve this victory. In hectic fashion, the final drafts of the bills were being revised right up to the last minute, modified to reflect the negotiations made between all parties involved. As Chairwoman Byrnes said, reflecting on the compromises reached, “This bill is not what everybody wants, but it’s a good step forward.”

As the result of negotiations MML, SEMCOG, MDOT and CRAM, many of whom had previously only supported the bills in concept, are now strong supporters of the legislation. The support of these organizations, in addition to the support of most of the GOP members of the committee, bodes well for the future of the bills.

The final revision of the bill no longer requires local road agencies or municipalities to pass their own Complete Streets policies. MDOT, however, is still required to pass a Complete Streets policy, along with a ‘model’ policy for municipalities and counties. As Rep. Switalski said, this version of the bill gives “cities, and locals more say when dealing with transportation policy.” The final bill also gives the Complete Streets Advisory Council a much stronger role in the planning process, allowing them to advise MDOT on the adoption of Complete Streets policies.

Bill sponsor, Representative Jon Switalski, makes the case for Complete Streets in Michigan before the House Transportation Committee on June 24th, 2010. The Committee went on to vote unanimously in support of the legislation.

Felicia Wasson from AARP used her brief testimony to rightly note that this is “only the beginning – a first step” for Complete Streets. According to the revision, Complete Street policies must consider the “varying mobility needs of all legal users of the roadway, of all ages and abilities.” This language does indeed represent a great first step towards ensuring that everyone is entitled to use roadways safely and conveniently.

The bills will now be referred to the House floor for a second reading, followed by a vote by the full House of Representatives. Rep. Byrnes expects that the bills will be voted on by the House relatively soon.  After that, they are on to the Senate committee. It’s important to keep the energy and enthusiasm alive as the bills move forward – look for an updated action alert on our Take Action page in the next few days.

(For a complete look at the process the bills will follow as they become law, download a PDF copy of the Michigan Citizens Guide to State Government)

The Coalition would like to once again thank everyone who has worked with us to see that these bills get passed. Let’s use today’s success as a springboard to redouble our efforts, and push these important bills out of the House and through the Senate!

Additionally, League of American Bicyclists, Alliance for Biking and Walking, and the National Complete Streets Coalition all featured the efforts of Michigan’s Complete Streets movement on their blogs today.

Many more organizations and individuals provided testimony in support of Compete Streets that was entered into the record at the committee meeting as well. The following is list of links to .pdfs of those testimonies.

Michigan Complete Streets Coalition member, Norm Cox of the American Society of Landscape Architects used his testimony to state that HB 6152 and 6152 is "working to make amends for the lopsided transportation investments of the last 50-60 years," adding, "it's not taking money away, but redistributing it based on changing priorities."

The second House Transportation Committee hearing on Complete Streets legislation,  HB 6151 and 6152, saw the room once again packed with supporters of the policies. The legislation – which seeks to move Michigan away from auto-centric road designs and meet the needs of all roadway users – has attracted strong support from a broad range of advocates. A few of the groups represented at today’s hearing included: The American Heart Association, Crim Fitness Foundation and Citizens for a Safe Community.

The coalition would like to extend thanks to all those who spoke at the meeting today, as well to those that offered written testimony. Chairwoman Byrnes (D – Dist. 52) indicated she plans to hold a vote on the bills next week, and with some organizations like SEMCOG and MML still supporting the bill in concept only, it is important that the committee members continue to hear vocal support for these specific policies.

Read the rest of this entry »

The House Transportation Committee will hold its second hearing on the Complete Streets package, House Bill 6151 and House Bill 6152 this Thursday, June 10th at 10:30 a.m. in the House Office Building Committee Room on the 5th Floor (124 North Capitol P.O. Box 30014 Lansing, MI 48909-7514). We had a very full room of supporters for the first hearing , and we would like to fill the room this time too. There will be cards that you can fill out to support the legislation; there probably won’t be time for all to speak.

If you can’t make the hearing, you can still support the legislation at www.michigancompletestreets.org. There is a letter that you can e-mail to members of the House Transportation committee. Of course it is always best to use your own thoughts of support, but the e-mail is a good starting point. It would also be beneficial for you to write your own legislator with your support.

Thanks as always for adding your voice to this important issue!

With standing room only, the room was abuzz with Complete Streets supporters on May 27th as the House Transportation Committee took testimony on HB 6151 and 6152.

It was standing room only yesterday as the House Transportation Committee took testimony on HB 6151 and 6152, Complete Streets legislation introduced by Representatives Jon Switalski and Pam Byrnes.  The legislation would ensure that future road projects throughout Michigan would be required to provide safe accommodations for all roadway users such as bicyclists, pedestrians and those with disabilities.

The Coalition sincerely thanks everyone who came to the hearing and submitted testimony and cards of support.  The committee members were impressed with the turnout and the amount of written testimony they received.

Providing moving testimony was Michelle Miles, mother of Jasmine Starr Miles, who was fatally struck by two cars and tragically killed in 2003 within 1,000 feet of a school zone while crossing a four lane road in Lansing.  The roadway had neither crosswalks nor a sidewalk available.  Cynthia Redinger of Opus International Consultants, Inc then presented a Powerpoint overview on what Complete Streets look like.

Opposition (MDOT, CRAM, MAC and MTA) is working hard to defeat these bills – as we knew they would.  Their approach is that they support the concept of Complete Streets, but view these bills as an unfunded mandate.  Testimony from numerous supporters of the bills, however, debunked such claims, including AARP’s Adam Goldberg and Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber who cited multiple examples of additional cost and delays in road projects in his community because of inadequate planning to accommodate nonmotorized users.

Representative Switalski’s testimony also cited recent examples in Mt. Pleasant, Kalamazoo and Traverse City where MDOT has failed to coordinate with local road agencies:

“The other component of this legislation is the coordination of the department and local road agencies on transportation projects. MDOT does great work for our state but we are asking them to do a little more when it comes to coordinating with locals on state trunklines in cities. On several occasions the department has not coordinated with local road agencies on state trunkline projects in that local road agencies’ jurisdiction.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition is excited to announce that a package of Complete Streets bills (HB 6151 & HB 6152) were introduced last night in the Michigan House.   Both bills were referred to the Transportation Committee.

HB 6151, states that “the Department [MDOT], local road agencies, and municipalities that receive appropriations under this act [Act 51] shall adopt complete streets policies” within two years.

The proposed legislation would require the “adequate accommodation, in all phases of project planning, development, construction, maintenance, and operation of all users of the transportation system, including, but not limited to, pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit users, children, older individuals, motorists and individuals with disabilities.”

The bill also creates a Complete Streets Advisory Council at the state level to “assist local road agencies and municipalities with implementation of Complete Streets Policies.”

The Coalition worked closely with bill sponsors Representative Jon Switalski and House Transportation Chair Pam Byrnes in crafting the bill language.  The Coalition also helped to develop specific exceptions in line with the National Complete Streets Coalition’s recommendations that take into consideration exorbitant cost (20% of the total project cost) as well as “urban, suburban or rural context in which a project is located.”

Such exemptions would have to be approved by a primary transportation planning authority such as MDOT, a metropolitan planning organization, or the regional, county or city agency responsible for planning and approving the project.

The companion bill, HB 6152, would update Michigan’s Planning Enabling Act by adding non-motorized transportation, Complete Streets and traffic calming as required elements of a municipal master plan.

We encourage individuals and organizations to contact their State Representatives (see sample letter below) in support of both bills.

Just posting a friendly reminder as a follow-up on our post from last week regarding tomorrow’s Virtual Lobby Day in support of the Active Community Transportation Act, H.R.4722.  Tomorrow the League of Michigan Bicyclists is leading a delegation of 13 Michigan cycling advocates to lobby for Complete Streets and more funding and federal support for bicycling in Michigan. We have a full day of meetings scheduled with Michigan Congresspeople and are asking you to back up our face to face efforts with phone calls from back home.  Specifically, please help us generate support for H.R. 4722 (Act Act).

Learn more about the ACT Act here.

Download Issue Paper on ACT Act (and Complete Streets Bill) here.

TAKE ACTION
For those Michigan complete streets advocates not attending the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC, please participate in the Virtual Lobby Day on Thursday March 11.  In conjunction with the National Bike Summit we ask that you call your representative at the same time that over 700 Summit participants will have in-person meetings in congressional offices. The combination of face to face and phone communications in support of this bill will demonstrate a strong and unified Michigan voice next week on Capitol Hill. The Virtual Lobby Day is being organized by our cycling friends at America Bikes.

We encourage you to use the talking points below to send your own alert encouraging your members to participate.

TALKING POINTS

Please call your representatives on March 11th to ask them to co-sponsor H.R.4722: “The Active Community Transportation Act.” Tell them:

  • Bicycling and walking are part of the solution. Half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less, yet the majority of these short trips are made by car.  Shifting more of these short trips to biking and walking would not only reduce congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and our dependence on oil, but will also improve physical activity, safety, and livability.
  • Investing in bicycling and walking infrastructure works.  Commuting by bicycle has increased 43 percent since 2000 – and by 69 percent in designated Bicycle Friendly Communities that have invested in infrastructure improvements.
  • Please co-sponsor the Active Community Transportation Act (H.R.4722).


Here are the phone numbers for all the Michigan Congress people:

  • Senator Carl Levin (D- MI)   202-224-6221
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D- MI)  202-224-4822
  • Representative Bart Stupak (D – 01)  202-225-4735
  • Representative Pete Hoekstra (R – 02)  202-225-4401
  • Representative Vern Ehlers (R – 03)  202-225-3831
  • Representative Dave Camp (R – 04)  202-225-3561
  • Representative Dale E. Kildee (D – 05)  202-225-3611
  • Representative Fred Upton (R – 06)  202-225-3761
  • Representative Mark Schauer (D – 07)  202-225-6276
  • Representative Mike Rogers (R – 08)  202-225-4872
  • Representative Gary Peters (D – 09)  202-225-5802
  • Representative Candice Miller (R – 10)  202-225-2106
  • Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R – 11)  202-225-8171
  • Representative Sandy Levin (D – 12)  202-225-4961
  • Representative Carolyn Kilpatrick (D – 13)  202-225-2261
  • Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D – 14)  202-225-5126
  • Representative John D. Dingell (D – 15)  202-225-4071

    Don’t know who your Congressperson is?  Visit http://capwiz.com/lab/home/ and enter your address to find out.

    Complete the Streets

    Action

    The League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) asks the State of Michigan to:

    • Design and build State roadways to accommodate all public right-of-way users safely, including bicyclists, pedestrians, people with mobility aids, motorists, and transit users of all ages and abilities.
    • Require all MDOT employees involved in planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of the State transportation system to consider fully the needs of non-motorized travelers.
    • Require all recipients of Act 51 Funds to adhere to the state’s “Complete Streets” policy (see first bullet, above).

      Read the rest of this entry »

    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.”
    Read the rest of this entry »



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