Complete Streets proposes improved street safety

FLINT TWP. — A plan presented to the township board of trustees Monday night proposes a roadway redesign to accommodate all users including bicyclists, pedestrians, the elderly and those with disabilities.

Complete Streets is a national movement encouraging municipalities and road planners to create streets that are safer for all users, according to the presentation by Victor J. Lukasavitz of Fleis & Vandenbrink Engineering Inc, who is active in the League of Michigan Bicyclists and various educational and advocacy groups.

Complete Streets is not just bout bicycling but making the right-ofway safer for all users, he said.

Some of its components include bicycle lanes, curb extensions, sidewalks, ADA ramps, bus lanes, narrower traffic lanes, multi-use pathways, non-motorized pathways and center islands as part of a “road diet’’ to make streets multi-functional. Some Complete Street practices such as eliminating right turns on red do not cost anything, he said.

Adopting Complete Street polices also places a municipality in a favorable position to get grant funding, he said.

He said grant and loan experience is a strong suit of his firm which has helped clients net about $350 mil- lion in grants and low-interest loans in the past ten years including $60 million in the past year.

Lukasavitz also cited health, economic and safety benefits of Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets improves the quality of life with benefits such as improved pedestrian vs. vehicle safety, reduced carbon emissions, livable, walkable communities that raise property values and improve economic gain and reduced health costs, he said, adding that done properly, Complete Streets can reduce accident and mortality rates.

He recalled bygone eras when it was safe for children to walk to the store or ride their bike in the street. Younger families are placing a priority on those kinds of neighborhoods, he said.

He cited a recently completed project on Perry Road in Grand Blanc that incorporated Complete Streets concepts.

Before the project, small children were walking along a 45 mph hour street daily. Now the improved street environment provides a safer path for the children, he said.

The board took no action on Lukasavitz’ presentation. He left copies of the Complete Street resolution that municipalities are being asked to adopt.

Two bills introduced last year in the Michigan House would require all Michigan road agencies to adopt Complete Streets policies within two years as a condition for receiving transportation funding.

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