Dexter Village Council approves 'complete streets' ordinance to promote safe travel
The Dexter Village Council unanimously adopted a “complete streets” ordinance Monday designed to promote safer travel for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists.
It was developed by the American Association of Retired People and members of the Walking and Bicycling Task Force, which include the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, the Michigan Department of Transportation and Consumer’s Energy.
The ordinance is meant to promote a safe network of access for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists and users of all ages and abilities.
“The goal of developing a complete streets ordinance and policy will be to continue planning, designing and engineering the village’s transportation network to serve all ages and abilities through the inclusion of all elements of transportation,” said Allison Bishop, community development manager.
In addition, the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study is currently working on a compete streets planning guide, as well as a countywide complete streets program, said Council Member Jim Carson, who also serves as the village’s liaison WATS.
“I’m glad we’re dong this,” Carson said. “It’s truly a good thing for us to do and for all municipalities to do.”
Sidewalks, buffers, and separation between cars and pedestrians are among the benefits of having complete streets. Proponents say having an ordinance of this type also increases travel safety, encourages additional transportation options and decreases car traffic and pollution.
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In addition, Carson said, it will give Dexter extra consideration for future enhancement grants.
According to Bishop’s report, successful long-term implementation results in:
- More options for people to go from one place to another.
- Less traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
- More walkable communities with healthier, more active people.
- Fewer barriers for older adults, children and people with disabilities.
Saline and Ann Arbor are among the cities that have implemented complete streets policies.
“Residents across Michigan are demanding that their streets meet the needs of all roadway users, regardless of age or ability,” according to a fact sheet from Michigan Complete Streets.
One person spoke during a public hearing on the issue Monday. Resident Paul Wensel asked the Village Council to consider adding “dimensions” to the village ordinance that would limit how close someone can park to a driveway.
Wenzel said people crowd the alley and his driveway, making it hard for him to safely get in and out of his property on Fifth Street.
Bishop said that issue wasn't something addressed in the complete streets ordinance, but is something that could be looked into using the village’s parking ordinance.
Currently, there are regulations prohibiting stopping, standing or blocking alleys.
Council Member Paul Cousins also asked Bishop to look into adding a “dimension” distance that limits the number of feet people can park from an alley or a driveway.
Lisa Allmendinger is a reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.