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This afternoon at the League's Capital Convention, representatives of the cities of Ferndale, Midland and Mount Pleasant shared experiences from the front lines of efforts to complete their communities' streets. The three cities are in different stages of implementation, showing the diversity of approaches available to Michigan communities under Michigan's Complete Streets legislation.
Ferndale Councilwoman Melanie Piana shared her perspective as an elected official who spearheaded the successful efforts to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance. She stressed the importance of building a support team, educating stakeholder groups and strengthening partnerships. She encouraged local government staff and officials to bike their communities to see first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of the network. Complete Streets policy discussions can be a catalyst to coalesce disparate resolutions, policies and processes already in existence within the local government. Ferndale adopted an ordinance but has not yet created a non-motorized transportation plan.
Keith Baker, Midland's Planning Director, shared a different story about the challenges creating political will for a Complete Streets ordinance. He advocated working incrementally if necessary, starting with a local task force and then building a non-motorized plan. Midland recently adopted a non-binding resolution that is advisory in nature but requires review of all new construction projects.
Jeff Gray and Rich Morrison from Mount Pleasant's Planning and Economic Development departments showcased examples of innovative projects completed in their city to reduce traffic speeds and increase pedestrian safety without a formal Complete Streets policy in place. They also provided recommendations for dealing with the challenges of redeveloping a state trunkline running through a downtown.
The League's Complete Streets page provides examples resolutions, policies and other background information.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator with the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at 734-669-6323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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