Complete Streets Ordinance Passed
(Crystal A. Proxmire)
Ferndale City Council passed an ordinance on Oct. 25, 2010 that requires Complete Streets planning for the City. According to the Ordinance introduction memo, “Complete Streets is a best practice with growing national and state support that calls for cities to rethink how they design or redesign road infrastructure projects to accommodate all users, not just cars. The City of Ferndale has already set policies that promote walkability, encourage investments in public transportation, increase bicycling and create safer spaces for pedestrians, as means to become a more environmentally friendly community, reduce energy consumption and provide options for all residents.”
The Ordinance (No. 1101, Article IV, Complete Streets, Section 16-50, Chapter 16) states “It is the intent of the Council of the City of Ferndale in enacting this ordinance to encourage healthy, active living, reduce traffic congestion and fossil fuel use, and improve the safety and quality of life of residents of Ferndale by ensuring its routes are safe, convenient, and comfortable for walking, bicycling, and public transportation.”
Complete Streets was introduced by first-year Councilperson Melanie Piana, who also works for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and has a background in urban planning. Before bringing the ordinance to Council, Piana testified the House Transportation Committee in May about the need for encompassing transportation policies, conducted public forums about Complete Streets, and spent countless hours researching what other cities had done to make their communities multi-modal friendly.
“In the past a lot of how we planned our community was with cars being more of a priority than people,” Piana said. “How do we create a community for people? How do we make streets safe for people.” She says Ferndale has already done more than many area communities by installing bike lanes, and by reducing lanes of traffic along W. 9 Mile to encourage slower driving and more interest in the downtown stores.
Piana presented research showing State and Federal transportation policy changes that encourage communities to adopt Complete Streets policies, including:
•Aug. 1, 2010, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law Complete Streets House Bills 6151 and 6152.
•October 2010, the Michigan Legislature adopted a FY2011 transportation budget that includes language that gives funding preference to communities that have Complete Streets policies.
•The Federal government launched a Sustainable Communities grant program that gives HUD, EPA, and DOT funding preferences to communities that support Complete Streets policies.
•The Michigan Municipal League, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and the Michigan Suburbs Alliance all support Complete Streets practices for their municipal members.
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