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Thread: Complete streets: why the fuss?

  1. #1
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    Complete streets: why the fuss?

    Hey guys, just read something about 'complete streets' n surprised I have not heard much about this specific concept earlier.

    Seems like a good idea so so I am not sure why there is opposition? What are your thoughts.

    Peace,

    Carlos.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by socks View post
    Hey guys, just read something about 'complete streets' n surprised I have not heard much about this specific concept earlier.

    Seems like a good idea so so I am not sure why there is opposition? What are your thoughts.

    Peace,

    Carlos.
    The opposition I have seen is from the auto-centric vested interest usual suspects and the ignorant - many of whom feed off the disinformation disseminated and fomented by the usual suspects. Mutualism at its finest.

    Overcoming such opposition lies not in trying to change the minds of those unwilling or unable to see, but rather to point out for the majority the safety, aesthetic, environmental and equity benefits. And that congestion won't be increased in most cases by changing roadway design. Most decision-makers understand the benefits.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Doohickie's avatar
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    Money is tight. If a municipality needs to build a 4-lane road but can't afford to add the complete streets features for pedestrians and cyclists and stuff, what's a city to do?

    Ambandon Complete Streets, of course.

  4. #4
    I'd say the fuss is simply this: for decades, transportation infrastructure was about one thing -- lanes, baby! LANES! Add more lanes so there isn't congestion and everybody can motor along at top speed.

    If you were someone without a driver's license, or if you simply preferred to bike, or you wanted to walk, all you got were the scraps and in many places, not even that. Heck, not only were you completely ignored with your own tax dollars, but if you dared to walk or cycle, you took your life in your hands.

    So, in part, it's about equity. But it's also about livability: who wants to build their house 'in the shade of the freeway'? Putting our streets on road diets, while also constructing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, creates a much more conducive environment for building sense of place.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    In 2009, Hawaii Legislature passed a bill requiring the Department of Transportation and each of the four counties in Hawaii to develop Complete Streets policies. At the end of this month, the City and County of Honolulu will be hosting a public meeting to solicit public input on Honolulu's design and implementation policies. They have asked specifically for planners and designers to attend to provide input. I know that literally dozens of communities across the US have implemented Complete Streets programs. Have any fellow Cyburbians gone through the public scoping process for their local program? Any words of wisdom for key issues to look out for?

    I am particularly excited about making multi-modal transportation infrastructure a requirement in the islands -- particularly on this island. Hawaii is ranked #1 in fatal pedestrian accidents for folks over 65 in the US.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    In 2009, Hawaii Legislature passed a bill requiring the Department of Transportation and each of the four counties in Hawaii to develop Complete Streets policies. At the end of this month, the City and County of Honolulu will be hosting a public meeting to solicit public input on Honolulu's design and implementation policies. They have asked specifically for planners and designers to attend to provide input. I know that literally dozens of communities across the US have implemented Complete Streets programs. Have any fellow Cyburbians gone through the public scoping process for their local program? Any words of wisdom for key issues to look out for?

    I am particularly excited about making multi-modal transportation infrastructure a requirement in the islands -- particularly on this island. Hawaii is ranked #1 in fatal pedestrian accidents for folks over 65 in the US.
    No need to reinvent the wheel. The work has already been done.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    No need to reinvent the wheel. The work has already been done.
    How do you mean ColoGl? Do you mean there has already been a discussion about the public scoping process for complete streets on Cyburbia?
    I searched for the term and this was the only pertinent discussion that I could find.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    How do you mean ColoGl? Do you mean there has already been a discussion about the public scoping process for complete streets on Cyburbia?
    I searched for the term and this was the only pertinent discussion that I could find.
    Not only are there manuals to pull from and typical diagrams to display, but this idea is just like any other planning idea that planners bring to the public. Nothing special anywhere. Do the same thing planners always do.

    And if you search any libertarian blog - Cox, O'Toole, the usual auto-dependency suspects - you'll quickly learn the typical easily-refuted objections as well (causes congestion, costly, 'forcing' people out of their cars, 'coercion', blahblahblah), all of which are focused on the individual and have nothing to do with the overall well-being of the community; so your objections will be the false perceptions of an individual maybe being inconvenienced for 10 seconds. Such plaints are easily addressed. And if you spend the money on quality landscaping (and you should), Kathy Wolf's work at UW shows there will be a likelihood of increased business, and other work shows reduced UHI, stormwater interception, attention restoration, increased QOL, all the standard stuff.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    How do you mean ColoGl? Do you mean there has already been a discussion about the public scoping process for complete streets on Cyburbia?
    I searched for the term and this was the only pertinent discussion that I could find.
    This is an area ITE has actually done a pretty good job with. Take a look at their Context Sensitive Streets. If you can convince road-happy TxDOT to do it, you can convince anyone. TxDOT likes it because they believe they can actually save money with it.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I have actually already looked at a lot of literature. What I was interested in discussing was the experiences other people have had with the public scoping meetings for developing complete streets policies where they live. I will be attending as a member of the public. Nonetheless, thank you for your feedback.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
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    Complete streets is certainly not new, but there is renewed attention to complete streets in the context of not just livability, but energy conservation and sustainability. But this is one area where even federal and state agencies may be ahead of the game, encouraging local jurisdictions to adopt complete street policies, guidelines, and in some cases, standards. In some states, evaluation for funding for street improvements is now dependent on pedestrian and alternative transportation factors, beyond the typical objectives of vehicular mobility. It may seem like there's been more talk than implementation, but it's because the movement is generating mostly from larger cities, often with built infrastructure, and complete streets are implemented through urban retrofitting (when funding is available). For many suburban communities, it may still business as usual, but with the continued rise of gas prices, these communities are paying attention to ways for residents to be less auto-dependent.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    This is an area ITE has actually done a pretty good job with. Take a look at their Context Sensitive Streets. If you can convince road-happy TxDOT to do it, you can convince anyone. TxDOT likes it because they believe they can actually save money with it.
    I agree. I just sent it along to my Better Half, who is working on landscaping standards for the new streetscape plan for the city she works for.

    Not perfect, but pretty good. She wants better sections for tree pits and utility separation and placement and all that, but a good supplement for that is this document:

    http://www.louisvilleky.gov/NR/rdonl...esdocument.pdf


    HTH.

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