Trails in Indiana

Complete Streets Legislation Aims at Making Streets Friendlier

 Higher gas and oil prices have forced a new urbanization. It makes more sense in every way to make available grocery stores, merchandisers and drug stores, hair cutting salons and others routine services without needing to drive a car or truck to get there.

Urban sprawl with large suburban areas which require automobiles to get to shopping venues like malls and super malls has become less glamorous with the changing economy.
 
Social fragmentation occurs when neighborhoods become “neighbor-less” and everyone maintains a self-absorbed autonomy, from car to work, back home, to school and church and back home again.
 
This isolation is abetted by neighborhood streets which are multi user unfriendly.
 
As city planners and urban thinkers and theorists have mulled the effects of past methods and plans concerning city planning on the population, new concepts about what streets and roadways should look like have come to fore.
 
What can provide people with effective alternatives to requiring cars and trucks to conduct routine affairs? Of the number of concepts stemming from this analysis, ideas such as “complete streets” have developed.
 
Complete Streets refers to streets designed as safely and comfortably useable by all possible users. Users include pedestrians, bicyclists, handicapped and elderly, transit riders, and car and truck drivers.
 
The “Complete Streets” concept has now come before the Indiana State Legislature.
 
“Over 50 organizations have supported the “Indiana Complete Streets Campaign” reports Kim Irwin, executive director of the Alliance for Health Promotion, following the proposal of Indiana House Bill 1182.
 
Indiana State Representative Nancy Dembowski sponsored the legislation. The bill…”requires accommodations for all users (pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users) to be a routine part of the planning, design, development, construction, and operation of any transportation projects, facilities, plans and /or federal funds,” noted Kim Irwin, in a January 12, 2010 notice to constituents.
 
In the first reading in committee, January 20, the bill received warm endorsement from no fewer than 10 community minded individuals and organizations. Testifying on behalf of this legislation was Richard Vonnegut, Vice Chairman of HRTC. Contravened only by a representative of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), a vote on the bill was tabled by Representative Terri Austin, until  more testimony on complete streets was heard.
 
HRTC advocates Indiana move toward developing ready access in road and street construction that provide utility for the broadest base of users.

 Article by Mario Vian