Indianapolis Needs Complete Streets

icsc-top1-150x150Imagine an Indianapolis where walking and biking are common ways of getting to work, to school, to visit friends or to run errands. Imagine a community diversifying its transportation options and taking a significant step in creating a positive impact on public health and the environment.

Unfortunately, too many areas of our city cannot support safe and convenient walking. A once-common mode of transportation has vanished from our neighborhoods. Our public health has suffered as a result. Today, nearly two-thirds of adults and 40 percent of youth inMarionCountyare overweight or obese.

Working together to develop a more walker-friendly community will go miles toward increasing our health status. A movement is growing to implement Complete Streets policies. A complete-streets approach to public works planning will ensure that road networks are built and retrofitted to be safer and welcoming to everyone and create a more walkable community.

The adoption of a Complete Streets policy will ensure that our entire transportation network promotes easy access, convenience, safety and health for all users, especially pedestrians. Walking is as natural as breathing for most of us, so assuring that our streets invite walking is vital to the public’s health.

Join LISC and our community partners in supporting a Complete Streets policy inIndianapolis.

Sign the Petition

In case you aren’t already aware of it, this Complete Streets video produced for the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative is very informative and provides a great overview of Complete Streets.

Here’s some additional information!

Q: What are Complete Streets?
A: “Complete Streets” are roadways designed and operated to enable safe access for all users; pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities.

Q: How is that different from what we currently have in Indianapolis?
A: Currently most roads are designed and built with only automobiles in mind, with the number one priority being the speed and movement of motorized vehicles. Unfortunately, this makes tour streets more dangerous for non-motorized road users – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders – and the community-at-large. Additionally, sidewalks, bike-lanes, and transit connections are often the first “amenities” to be cut during project construction. A complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently plan, design, operate, and maintain the entire roadway with all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Q: What are the benefits of Complete Streets?
A: There are many benefits to Complete Streets, including:
• Complete streets make economic sense.
• Complete streets improve safety.
• Complete streets encourage walking and biking.
• Complete streets ease transportation woes.
• Complete streets benefit children.
• Complete streets are good for air quality.
• Complete streets make fiscal sense.
Q: How will Complete Streets make our streets safer and therefore better?
A: No longer will every road project need to be scrutinized by the limited city staff responsible for bike and pedestrian projects or by advocates (i.e. INDYCOG, Health by Design, AARP, etc.); but, instead the process for accommodating all road users will be institutionalized. In this way, the decision-making will ensure that the entire right of way is routinely designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Complete Streets will create a process where every project will have to be evaluated for potential bicycle/pedestrian/ transit users in the initial planning process. A complete street may include, but is not limited to:
• Sidewalks
• Bike lanes
• Special bus lanes
• Comfortable and accessible public transportation stops
• Frequent and safe crossing opportunities
• Median islands
• Accessible pedestrian signals
• Curb extensions
• Narrower travel lanes
• Roundabouts

Not every street needs every element. In fact, one complete street may look quite different than the next, but both will be designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.

Q: Why do we need a Complete Streets Ordinance?
A: A complete streets ordinance ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently plan, design, operate, and maintain the entire roadway with all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

The following elements comprise an “ideal” Complete Streets ordinance:
• Includes a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets
• Institutionalizes decision-making to ensure that the entire right of way is routinely designed and operated to enable safe access for all users.