MICHIGAN — In late July, 2012, the State of Michigan's transportation committee adopted a Complete Streets policy, as required by Public Act 134 and 135 of 2010, which amends the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, ensuring that all new road developments and projects are developed with collaboration and consideration to adjacent communities, and ensures accessibility to all forms of transportation, not just automobiles.
Complete Streets, as defined by the Michigan legislature, are "Roadways planned, designed, and constructed to provide appropriate access to all legal users in a manner that promotes safe and efficient movement of people and goods whether by car, truck, transit, assistive device, foot, or bicycle."
As of August 16, the State has issued a one-page newsletter to all Michigan road and planning agencies, making sure they know just what's going on with the new legislation.
The newsletter includes "the following vision for Complete Streets in Michigan:"
1) A transportation network that is accessible, interconnected and multimodal and that safely and efficiently moves goods and people of all ages and abilities throughout the State of Michigan;
2) A process that empowers partnerships to routinely plan, fund, design, construct, maintain and operate complete streets that respect context and community values;
3) Outcomes that will improve economic prosperity, equity, accessibility, safety and environmental quality.
According to the newsletter, the Michigan State Transportation Commission (STC) passed the policy July 26, 2012, for the transportation network of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The policy was developed specifically to: Promote safe and efficient travel for all legal users of the roadway; Promote planning, design and construction of Complete Streets within municipal context; Encourage a proactive and consistent approach; and Further encourage partnerships and mutual collaboration.
MDOT is now responsible for revising or developing procedures and guidelines for Complete Streets by the end of calendar years 2013, will report annually to the STC on Complete Streets progress, work with local entities on federally funded developments, and work with cities and towns to develop solutions that work within their context.
The language in this particular legislation, however, does leave open a lot of loose ends and lets individual municipalities ultimately decide the fate of the streets for its residents, so action is still required! If you live in a community that you don't think is safe to bike or walk around in, let your officials know! If your community is safe, and you're enjoying the progressive infrastructure, let them know they're doing a good job!
For an overview on the policy, and for more information, click here.