Michigan Can Do Better
Adopt a Stronger Complete Streets Policy
Michigan’s draft Complete Streets policy is out, and the Michigan State Transportation Commission (MSTC) is looking for your feedback. Through July 13 2012, we urge you to join other citizens around the state by signing this petition asking MSTC to adopt a stronger policy.
MSTC, a six-member board that establishes the policy and plans for Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT), recently released the draft policy for implementing Complete Streets on state roads. The Complete Streets policy will direct MDOT planners to design and maintain roadways that fit within the context of the community and keep all users in mind, including bicyclists, public transit riders, motorists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
While the state’s effort is a big step in the right direction, bicycle, disability, transit, and pedestrian advocates around the state think the policy could be clearer, more specific, and include firm timelines for implementing Complete Streets procedures. Advocates analyzed the policy, comparing it to national best practices, and identified a number of key areas where Michigan’s policy could be improved.
The draft policy is the result of Complete Streets legislation passed in 2010 with overwhelming support from Michigan Legislature and the public. The legislation requires that the state adopt a policy by August 2012. MSTC is only allowing two weeks for the public to review and comment on the policy before their July 13th deadline. That’s why we need you to ACT TODAY and sign this petition urging MSTC to make improvements to the policy before adopting it.
I urge the Michigan State Transportation Commission to strengthen the draft Complete Streets policy to follow best practices outlined by the National Complete Streets Coalition. While the Michigan policy is strong in a number of areas, it falls short in others. I ask that you please include the following improvements within the final policy:
• Strengthen implementation language.
- Identify the referenced procedures and guidelines that will be developed or revised.
- Include a timeframe by which implementing documents will be developed or revised.
- State a commitment to continue programs to educate and train MDOT personnel and other stakeholders on Complete Streets implementation.
- Include language about implementation accountability.
• State a commitment to continuing to base facility design and construction on existing laws, best practices, and guidance documents.
• Strengthen exception language (as outlined in PA 135) for the non-inclusion of Complete Streets facilities on a road project.
- Require documentation and data that indicates the basis for the decision and the approval.
- Require exceptions be approved by a MDOT Chief Engineer, and when appropriate by the Federal Highway Administration and/or the appropriate Metropolitan Panning Organization.
- Include a timeframe by which an exception procedure document will be developed.
• Include language about developing and using performance measures, a national best practice that is completely absent from the current draft policy.
• Strengthen the language that states, “The Department MAY work with local road agencies…” to say that they “SHALL work with local road agencies…”
• Amend language about the network approach to expand “non-motorized” users to include all users, including bicyclists, people with disabilities and transit users.
• Specify whether there will be a sunset on annual reports to the State Transportation Commission.