Posts Tagged ‘Dangerous by Design’

Detroit Complete Streets discussion on Complete Streets

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

On Monday, June 27th at 11AM, Detroit City Council’s Public Health and Safety committee is having a discussion on a Complete Streets ordinance.

11:00 A.M. – DISCUSSION – RE: Status of Complete Streets Ordinance. (City Planning Commission; Health and Wellness Promotion, Public Works and Law Departments)

The discussion is at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on the 13th floor at 2 Woodward. This meeting is open to the public.

In late May, the Detroit Free Press published a couple editorials in support of Complete Streets: Caution: Walking may be hazardous to your health and Watch your steps — Without policy changes, expect more pedestrian fatalities.

Both pieces were inspired by the recent national report called Dangerous by Design. This report ranked Metro Detroit as a the 12th most hazardous for pedestrians. Given the city’s larger shared of pedestrians, Detroit helped push that rank up.
From the first Free Press editorial:

Designing walkable streets and public places is important to building healthy, livable cities that attract talented employees, innovative businesses and creative entrepreneurs. They don’t necessarily require spending more money, but they do require fresh thinking.

Balanced transportation policies mean designing roadways to include the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, not just cars. That will save lives and encourage people to become more physically active.

We agree. And perhaps the biggest concern raised is how much more money Complete Streets will cost. But Complete Streets aren’t expensive says Scott Clein of Giffels-Webster. He wrote this article, Complete Streets Myths Debunked.

Designs in line with Complete Streets philosophies don’t have to cost a lot, especially when included in annual capital improvement projects. Most communities have existing funding for road maintenance and related upgrades. When resurfacing a roadway, for example, implement bike lanes for little to no added cost.

This piece-by-piece approach may seem out of place when attempting to promote connectivity, but it mimics road maintenance approaches and allows the largest benefits from shrinking budgets.

We’ll end with this interesting Complete Streets video from some MSU students. (Note that Detroit does have HAWK signals, Safe Routes to School, and is building some Complete Streets.)