In an article authored by Dameon Pesanti of the Columbian newspaper, dated May 15, 2017, it is noted that, "In an effort to make Vancouver's roads safe, convenient and more comfortable to a broader array of users, the city is in the works of adopting a Complete Streets policy to guide future road development and upgrades."
"Complete Streets" is a concept designed to construct and modify roads in a way that gives equal consideration to cars, bicycles, pedestrians, wheelchairs, and public transit. From the website of the national organization Smart Growth America:
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.
Creating Complete Streets means transportation agencies must change their approach to community roads. By adopting a Complete Streets policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists - making your town a better place to live.
Greater consideration is to be given to how to make city streets safer for walking and biking? Especially for our growing community, this is wonderful news!
The Columbian article suggests there also could be meaningful side-benefits that the city may realize from working towards streets that are safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and wheelchairs. Specifically, spurred economic development (by attracting people who don't want to drive everywhere), and greater city eligibility for additional grant funding for local street projects from the Washington Department of Transportation.
The Columbian article concludes by noting that city staff is working on a draft that will be presented to the Vancouver City Council on June 5, 2017, to be followed by consideration at a public hearing on June 19, 2017. If approved, the new policy would provide guidance to the city's update of its 20 Year Transportation System Plan.
Again, this is very positive news to those of us who live and work in the beautiful little city of Vancouver, Washington.