Complete Streets Bill Now in Both House and Senate
April 30, 2008
Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) took an important step for safer, better designed streets today by introducing the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2008 into the U.S. House. The bill would make sure that roads built and improved with federal funds safely serve everyone using the roadway—including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, as well as those with disabilities.
“Once again, gas prices have hit record highs this week. As American families continue to feel the pain at the pump due to the skyrocketing costs of gasoline, they are driving less and less,” said Rep. Matsui. “By diversifying our roadways, we can provide real alternatives to travel by car.”
Meanwhile, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) signed on this week as first Republican co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, S2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008, introduced a few weeks ago by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). This is the first time that comprehensive complete streets bills have been introduced in the House and Senate.
“We commend Rep. Matsui and Senators Coleman, Harkin, and Carper for recognizing the importance of making the best investment possible with our federal transportation dollars,” said Barbara McCann, Coordinator of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “States and cities across the country have discovered that completing their streets for all users means safer communities that invite walking, bicycling, and taking transit—and that can help people cope with the rising price of gasoline.”
Across the country, many transportation agencies have continued to design roads primarily for drivers—discouraging bicycling and forcing pedestrians to walk through tracks worn in the grass. Transit users often face dangerous crossings and uncomfortable waits, while people who use wheelchairs or have vision impairments often cannot venture out at all due to a lack of sidewalks and curb ramps. They often end up calling for expensive paratransit service instead.
Complete streets policies require transportation planners to take the needs of all users into account in all upcoming transportation projects so the road network can be gradually improved for everyone. Oregon, Virginia, Illinois, California, and Massachusetts are among the states that have adopted complete streets policies or laws; dozens of counties, regional transportation agencies, and cities and regions have also adopted the policies in the last few years, including Ms. Matsui’s home jurisdiction of Sacramento, as well as Seattle, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.
The National Complete Streets Coalition includes AARP, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the American Planning Association, Smart Growth America, America Bikes, and many other organizations. Bikes Belong has been a sponsor of the complete streets movement since 2004. For more information, visit www.completestreets.org.