February & March 2014
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Complete Streets Policy in Development

The philosophy of Complete Streets is that the surface transportation system should serve all members of the community - from drivers of cars, trucks, buses, and emergency vehicles, to cyclists, pedestrians, people using mobility aids, and school children and others using buses. While the Complete Streets idea has been part of discussion and planning processes for many years, TMACOG is developing a policy to incorporate the concept into the regional transportation planning process. The policy is under development but should be completed in March and will be available at the Transportation Summit, Friday, April 11.

The initial draft of the TMACOG Complete Streets policy was created in the Pedestrian and Bikeways Committee after analysis of the policies of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission in the Columbus region, and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission in the Dayton area. Other reference sources included the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America.

The draft policy is specific to conditions in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. It considers needs in urban, suburban, and rural areas, and also takes account of this region’s existing infrastructure. The proposed policy does not dictate specific designs or strategies but instead describes the needed outcomes. A successful Complete Street ensures that current and projected users of the public right-of-way will be able to safely and conveniently reach their destinations along and across a street or road using their chosen mode of transportation. Complete Streets will look different for every project and road. For example, wide lanes and paved shoulders may be sufficient in a rural area, but sidewalks and bike lanes may be needed in an urban setting. A downtown area will accommodate bus shelters and delivery vans as well. There are areas where exceptions will be made including low population areas and places where it would be impractical to make a street safe for shared use.

When complete and approved by the TMACOG Board of Trustees, all jurisdictions or project sponsors receiving federal funding through TMACOG will be required to demonstrate that their project will result in a balanced transportation system. A checklist will be part of the application procedure for the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TMACOG website will publish links to design manuals and guides that demonstrate Complete Street strategies.

TMACOG transportation committees have commented on the policy and contributed input. Many area stakeholder groups and agencies have been provided an opportunity to review the policy as it is being developed. These include the Ability Center, the Area Office on Aging, TARTA, County Engineer’s Offices in Lucas and Wood counties, Monroe County Road Commission, Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission, Wood County Plan Commission and a broad range of other local stakeholders. Interested people can review and provide comment on the draft plan through February. See the draft here. To comment, contact Christine Drennen at 419.241.9155 ext. 119.

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