Sharpsburg Open Streets, Photo: @sharpsburgboro
Sharpsburg puts their safe transportation Vision front and center
Sharpsburg Borough Council unanimously passed a Complete Streets Resolution on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The Borough, who have been hosting Complete Streets events over the past couple of years, has now joined the hundreds of communities nationwide who are working toward safe transportation for all.
Everybody, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how they get around, should have the choice to travel in a safe and convenient manner.
This simple Complete Streets vision will require those who are making decisions about or transportation network to plan ahead and put the policies and the laws in place to ensure it.
Brittany Reno, Sharpsburg Borough Council member and sponsor of the bill says that “as Sharpsburg residents have been having more in-depth conversations about what we love about our community and what we’d like to see in its future, mobility and connectivity continue to arise as key issues that impact both public health and economic opportunity for residents of Sharpsburg. As our community is beginning to experience more investment and growth than we’ve seen in decades, residents and public officials alike want to affirm our community’s commitment to expanding access to safe routes for pedestrians of all ages, cyclists, people with disabilities, public transit users, and all motorists. Sharpsburg’s Complete Streets resolution provides a foundation that we can build on–over many years and throughout many projects–to continuously improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in or visits Sharpsburg.”
The bill was modeled off of policy that the City of Pittsburgh passed last November, but with some changes to make it more applicable to Sharpsburg. The Borough intends to institutionalize Complete Streets design into all design, construction, and rehabilitation projects.
One important aspect of Complete Streets Policies is that they can flip the typical development script, putting the onus on decision makers to explain why they can’t accommodate all modes, instead of the status quo, where communities need to demand why these accommodations are necessary.
Without a Complete Streets Policy, pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation accommodations are often debated too late in the design process and are considered a disruption, rather than a necessary project feature. This can lead to time delays at best, and erosion of public support at worst, and may even require a retrofit at later date, instead of getting it right the first time. A “fix it first” approach, like Complete Streets, can save taxpayers in the long run and will ultimately create a better project.
Bike Pittsburgh has been pushing for Complete Streets Policies for a number of years, successfully working with the City of Pittsburgh to adopt a highly rated Ordinance in 2016. We have now teamed up with a coalition of partners, including the CONNECT Congress of Neighboring Communities, to work toward implementing Complete Streets in Pittsburgh’s surrounding communities.
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