01 November 2007

Just the beginning: Different perspectives on Complete Streets

By the way, SB 314 is now Public Act 95-0665. More cake, anyone?

From Illinois Transportation Issues:
Complete Streets Bill Passes--Challenges IDOT To Think Different
[And me to stop snickering.]
"The devil thus will be in the details of implementing the new law. The law charges the Illinois Department of Transportation with developing design and construction standards for bicycle and pedestrian ways. IDOT, however, was presumably the moving force behind the Governor's amendatory veto of the bill. If IDOT does oppose the new law, will it be able to muster the creativity and open-mindedness to develop standards that will effectively integrate bicycles and pedestrians into our State transportation system?"
I'm under the impression that IDOT was, at worst, ambivalent. They have a whole site dedicated to Illinois bicycling information, they administer the Illinois Safe Routes to School program, and they publish BLOS maps of every IDOT region in the state (collect all 9!) that are available for free upon request. Your tax dollars are already very hard at work here.

I don't know why G-Rod vetoed the essential language in the bill. I can only guess that it's because he's a jerk.

Anyway, with folks like Ed Barsotti and Rob Sadowsky at the helms of the League of Illinois Bicyclists and Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, respectively, I have no doubt that effective standards can and will be developed. Because if they aren't, I will be very angry. And you don't want to see me when I'm angry. Seriously, Barsotti and Sadowsky are both simply fantastic at their jobs. They know how to get stuff done. They know how to inspire other people to get stuff done.

One commenter is concerned that buses could get the short shrift if Complete Streets pits bikes/peds against buses in the public eye. Will communities see it as a false choice (since they're now required by law to accommodate the former) between two "alternative" modes of transportation? In what sense are streets "complete" if something is still being left out?

I'm not sure I see the problem here. How would bike lanes, wide shoulders, sidewalks, sidepaths, trails, underpasses, ped bridges, crosswalks, and better timed traffic signals interfere with buses? I don't know about bus service in the rest of the state, but all CTA and Pace buses have bike racks. Bicyclists around here see buses either as extensions of their bicycles (they ride to the bus stop or use the bus as backup in sudden bad weather) or as just another kind of motor vehicle to contend with on the road. I really don't think we have to worry about bikes and buses competing for resources.


At 02 November, 2007 00:17, Blogger David Johnsen said...

Here is my concern about Complete Streets. A bike advocate in another state with Complete Streets says he has had this exchange with the DOT regarding several projects:

DOT: Do bicyclists use this road?
Advocate: No, because it isn't safe.
DOT: Okay, then we don't have to worry about bikes because they don't use this road.
Advocate: But they would if...

So DOT says they did their job by considering bikes, but they don't do anything to accommodate them. Although this bill was described as "budget neutral," it isn't "labor neutral." It's going to require more work, and no one wants to do more work if they can avoid it -- especially when statewide budget cuts have probably pared down the engineering department.

At 02 November, 2007 00:31, Blogger Jennifer said...

That's why the correct answer to the DOT's question is "Yes, and it sucks."

IL 173 comes to mind. They tell you not to use it because it's so unsafe, but serious roadies use it anyway.


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