Thursday, April 21, 2011

Complete Streets bill keeps everyone looped in

The loop is big enough for everyone. And for sure, you’re darned right: Everyone should be kept in it when the subject is Washington’s transportation infrastructure. That’s the simple message, profoundly stated, in state Rep. Jim Moeller’s successful “Complete Streets” legislation this year in the state capital.

“Motorists and their passengers, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists have a right to know that it’ll be safe going for them when they hit the road,” said Moeller, whose House Bill 1071 has cleared both legislative chambers and is on the governor’s desk. Terms of the measure direct the Washington State Department of Transportation to talk with local jurisdictions before the department undertakes any highway-design work or major repairs to city streets that are part of a state highway.

Carrie Dolwick, State Policy Director for the Transportation Choices Coalition, pointed out that “transportation advocates are very pleased the Legislature is taking a more serious look at how we strike a balance for all modes of transportation in Washington. This bill is a first step to allow state resources to be invested in streets that are for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.”

“When you’re talking about this concept of ‘complete streets,’” Moeller explained, “you’re talking about designing and operating streets in a way that guarantees safe and reliable access for everyone – and that includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public-transportation users, and motorists. Although it’s obviously true that many cities are already built out, the grant program in this legislation will, first of all, allow opportunities for making those city streets much more efficient, and, second, improve the infrastructure for all users,” he continued.

”It’s really very simple: We need to champion an inclusive transportation infrastructure that is tied indivisibly to the idea of one Washington, with opportunity for all who travel and traverse that infrastructure. This legislation reflects the genuine need for an inclusive transportation infrastructure.”