Texas was rated #1 for best American roads in 2005 and 2006 but it seems that roads are rated on purely on automobile-centric views (i.e., Poor mileage, deficient bridges, fatalities, and congestion). Complete Streets however takes a more holistic approach to road creation.
What are Complete Streets?
Complete Streets wants to make roads safer for all forms of transportation, revitalize economies by being more accessible, raise real-estate by providing nicer roads, and to change the psychology of the roads away automobile-centrism. Between 2000 and 2009 47,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States or essentially 5,200 per year. 13% of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians with minorities and elderly at disproportionally high rates, but if more roads were Complete Streets that number could be greatly reduced.
So what is Texas doing?
Some Complete Streets can already be seen in the Lone Star State as San Antonio rolls out its new transportation plan that allows for a more flexible construction of roads to fit the needs of the area, is turning to more green ways to dispose of storm water, and will hopefully revitalize the area. The actual Resolution can be found Here.
Austin has made its own strides in increasing pedestrian and cyclist accessibility with Resolution No. 020418-40.
Texas as a whole is almost keeping stride with San Antonio and Austin as TxDOT recently adopted more pedestrian friendly standards and Senate Bill 513 and House Bill 1105 are in the state legislature calling for the state to adopt even stronger “Complete Streets’” standards. This would include amending TxDOT’s policies to allow local authorities to have more sway in road design and construction. Bike Texas is currently trying to get the bills passed in 2013 session, if you’re interested in helping pass the bills with Bike Texas shoot an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also provide a list of representatives who voted for or against the bill on their site.
How are Complete Streets made?
Complete Streets doesn’t just advocate making new roads; fiscally it makes more sense to add in bike lanes whenever the roads are being redone or fixed. Everything from sidewalks, to bike lanes, to turning lanes can be added to make a street more complete. If you want to get involved you can plug in to complete streets directly, lobby your city council to pass a complete streets resolution as San Antonio and Austin have done, or even partake in “guerilla-complete streets as “Better-Block Project” did in Dallas in the videos below.
Want to know more information? Below are some cool links!
-Keegan Taylor, Beyond Coal Intern