Michigan House Pedaling Good Policy With 'Complete Streets'

They call it "Complete Streets," and it means getting out of the house, out of the car and onto your feet or a bike to enjoy Michigan's great outdoors. Just in time for summer, the Michigan House of Representatives is calling on the state Department of Transportation to make Michigan streets more conducive to walking or biking.  

This is about promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing childhood obesity and cutting our use of polluting fossil fuels --- all issues that the Michigan League of Conservation Voters has pushed for years in Lansing. 

"The Michigan House is pedaling good policy in this case," said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, with offices in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids.

"This is a refreshing example of the House leadership promoting healthy lifestyles and our unmatched natural resources while helping to curb global warming pollution that threatens our state's greatest treasures. 

"We encourage the Michigan Department of Transportation to keep pedestrians in mind when designing and funding transportation projects now and in the future.

"As Michigan transitions from an auto state, making communities more walkable and friendly to bicycle and foot traffic will make our state more inviting to residents, tourists and businesses looking to locate and expand here. It also offers the chance to reduce health-care costs."

House Bills 6151 and 6152 were introduced by Reps. Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township, and Jon Switalski, D-Warren. The initiatives would require the Michigan Department of Transportation and local road agencies to adopt Complete Streets polices and require consideration of utilities and transportation as part of a master plan adopted or amended by cities, villages, townships, or counties.  

"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," according to the National Complete Streets Coalition at www.completestreets.org

--- Image Credit: Creative Commons, Farlane