Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Complete Our Streets!

A message from Complete Streets Spokane on the danger of incomplete streets and an invitation to a meeting about their new campaign. Please mark your calendars and try to come, it should be interesting.

Dear supporter of walkable communities,

Complete Streets Spokane invites you to an organizing meeting to discuss the campaign to create Complete Streets Policies in Spokane.

Wednesday January 13th 5:30 at the Central YMCA, 930 N. Monroe

Please save the date & spread the word by sending your friends and neighbors the attached flyer.

Subscribe to our notices list here! Or Friend us on Facebook

If Spokane had a color coded pedestrian health and safety alert system our threat level would be at least an “Orange”. Recently we have had an alarming string of pedestrian deaths in the Inland Northwest (more about that here). Be a part of the effort to change that! A coalition of public interest organizations in Spokane is forming around this issue, so it’s a great time to get involved in improving our ability to get around in Spokane without cars.

Why we want Complete Streets:

Our Health and Safety:

When streets are designed only for cars, they deny people the opportunity to choose more active ways to get around, such as walking and biking. Even where sidewalks exist, large intersections and speeding traffic may make walking unpleasant or even unsafe - discouraging any non-motorized travel.

In Moses Lake the community has adopted a Healthy Communities Action Plan, in direct response to a 127% increase in the adult obesity rate there. New zoning rules require wider sidewalks and other features that improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. Obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. The latest data show that 32% of adults are obese , the number of overweight or obese American children nearly tripled between 1980 and 2004. Health experts agree that a big factor is inactivity – 55 percent of the U.S. adult population falls short of recommended activity guidelines, and approximately 25 percent report being completely inactive. Inactivity is a factor in many other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Incomplete streets mean many people lack opportunities to be active as part of daily life.

Complete streets provide opportunities for increased physical activity by incorporating features that promote regular walking, cycling and transit use into just about every street. A report prepared by the National Conference of State Legislators found that the most effective policy avenue for encouraging bicycling and walking is incorporating sidewalks and bike lanes into community design – essentially, creating complete streets. The continuous network of safe sidewalks and bikeways provided by a complete streets policy is important for encouraging active travel. Learn more by clicking here.


The streets of Spokane are an important part of our community’s livability. They should be designed for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams.

Right now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.

Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Learn more by clicking here.

Economic Development:

Incomplete streets can restrict economic development. In our landscape, retail and commercial development is often accessible only by automobile along roads that have become dangerous to pedestrians and bicycles even on weekends. Potential shoppers are left with no choice but to fill up the tank and drive. For many, that can mean staying home. This is particularly true for seniors; research shows that “half of all non-drivers age 65 and over - 3.6 million Americans - stay home on a given day because they lack transportation.” Our economy cannot reach its maximum potential when buyers are unable to reach retail destinations.

Lack of transportation options also affects the workforce. In a 2006 report on employment centers outside Pittsburgh, 30% of employers responded that transportation was the number one barrier to hiring and retaining qualified workers. Although bus routes serve a portion of the center, more than 50% of employees responded that there was no bus stop convenient to home or work. Other employees noted that they didn’t use public transportation because bus stops in the area had no sidewalks to safely reach their destination. This sounds like Spokane! Incomplete streets hinder economic growth and can result in lost business, lower productivity, and higher employee turnover. Learn more by clicking here.

We look forward to beginning this work with you soon!

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