Monday, July 02, 2007

Complete Streets & Trails

We agree that the streets in our community need to be available and safe for transit by all the forms of transport humans regularly use, walking, biking, driving, and would extend the concept to the Parkway, where the need for a pedestrian trail to complement the bike and horse trail is becoming paramount.

Editorial: Complete the streets
Bill would promote safer walking, biking
Published 12:00 am PDT Monday, July 2, 2007

They're the blight of suburbia and many city neighborhoods -- multilane streets and boulevards that accommodate only cars. They have no bike lanes. No sidewalks. No pull-outs for bus transit. No trees. No medians or crosswalks so kids and other pedestrians can safely cross to get to schools, shops or retirement villages.

You can see these types of streets all over the urbanized parts of Sacramento County and in many other California communities. These high-speed blacktops are one reason that, each year in California, cars kill about 700 pedestrians and injure 14,000 others.

These boulevards of death now have a polite name -- incomplete streets. In a perfect world, incomplete streets would be outlawed and phased out of existence. Yet short of such bold action, lawmakers could take action this year to encourage more complete streets as communities plan for future growth. They could enact Assembly Bill 1358, by Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which requires local governments to accommodate all users of the road when revising the circulation element of their general plans.

Currently, California's government code is silent on the need to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users when planning a local transportation system. That needs to change. AB 1358 would encourage local governments to work on the front end so streets were designed to include bike lanes, transit stops, sidewalks and tree cover for walkers.