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Posted on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 4:14 p.m.

Legislature approves 'Complete Streets' plan to improve transportation for pedestrians and bicyclists

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Michigan House and Senate today passed the "Complete Streets" legislation, a plan sponsored by state Reps. Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township, and Jon Switalski, D-Warren.

The two lawmakers said the legislation is designed to ensure that future transportation plans statewide take into consideration the needs of all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, seniors, people with disabilities and children.


Pam Byrnes

The plan is now set to be signed into law.

"I’m very pleased with the Senate's quick action on this legislation," Byrnes, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, said in a statement. "As with the cottage food legislation, I was able to work across the aisle and across the dome to deliver a meaningful change for Washtenaw County and for Michigan. This legislation is good for the environment, good for the economy and promotes healthier lifestyles for our residents."

Under the plan, the Michigan Department of Transportation will be required to consider all users of roads in all phases of road project planning and during construction. The plan also will encourage local units of government to consider Complete Streets principles when updating their master plans.

While Complete Streets accommodations may vary between communities, Byrnes said, they include sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities and accessible pedestrian signs. Complete Streets planning also is expected to increase the safety and availability of travel options for seniors, a need some say will increase as Baby Boomers age.

"Transportation planning is crucial to revitalizing our downtowns and creating the atmosphere to attract businesses, create jobs and keep our young people here in Michigan," Switalski said in a statement. "Providing people with safe alternative travel options will lead to healthier lifestyles and give residents more ways to reach the small businesses that drive our economy. This 'Complete Streets' legislation reflects the bipartisan effort it takes to build a brighter future for Michigan."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

... with legislative priorities like this, Michigan ensures its' place at/near the bottom of the economic heap for decades to come. Just tell the peds (and peddlers) to quit lolligagging, and move their butts along.

Paul A.

Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 7:58 a.m.

Congratulations to all who worked hard on making this reasonable planning tool available to all transportation planners - Pam, the League of Michigan Cyclists and the Washtenaw Bicycle and Walking Coalition. In areas of the country and State where the "Complete Streets" tool is already in use, there have been many improvements in facilities for all users; motorized and non-motorized. For those who feel that this bill will do nothing to bring new jobs to Michigan, just 2 comments: 1. Yes it will ultimately when more construction projects are implemented and Michigan attracts more businesses due to its improved transportation alternatives, and 2. if this is the only criteria for the State legislature to consider in writing and passing bills, there would be little done in terms of education, health reform, child and elderly issues, etc. or other issues of benefit to our citizens.


Fri, Jul 30, 2010 : 5:34 a.m.

This is a very good thing that will lead to better, more equitable transportation facilities in the long-term. One poster asked how this impacts seniors and children. Seniors are often pedestrians and/or users of public transit, with many no longer able to drive and many moving slower. Children are unable to drive, and often walk to school and stores or ride bikes on sidewalks. The result of this legislation is to move our road-designing agencies from thinking just about how to facilitate shoving as many cars down a road as fast as possible to thinking about thinks like how far is it across the street (and can that be reduced through things like bump-outs, islands, etc.), how fast does one need to cross a street (and can that be addressed through walk signal timing, etc.), how accessible is a bus stop to those with limited mobility, etc. More generally, this legislation also calls for considering whether roads are well designed for cyclists. State after state has shown that if you improve the bike infrastructure, more folks bike. This benefits even those who continue to drive in that the more folks who bike, the less wear-and-tear and traffic there is on the roads for the rest of folks. So, for example, one commenter was complaining about the "road diet" for South Main between Ann Arbor - Saline Road and Eisenhower. Road engineers were required to measure the impact of a road diet before implementing it, and I'm sure they found the impact of slowing down cars on the environment was negligible. Moreover, anecdotally, I can say it has had a negligble effect on travel times on that road. To the contrary, I would say folks are now more apt to obey the speed limit. Moreover, put that "bike infrastructure" in place was a critical component of my feeling that I can now safely get from my house to Briarwood mall on a bike. As a result, I now regularly bike rather than drive, meaning there is one less car on the road. I encourage folks to consider this legislation in the context of how it affects everyone (including those who don't just drive everywhere due to choice or life circumstances), rather than just how it might ever-so-slightly inconvenience them personally.


Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 9:32 p.m.

Dumb amd Dumber, an absolute waste of taxpayer money! How on earth does this impact children seniors? This new law will simply increase costs to the taxpayers and the companies in Michigan. How does this help create jobs? I am honestly ready to give my home back to my bank, tell them to pound salt, move out west and start over fresh!


Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 5:49 p.m.

ooops 50% of the population is over 65 years of age... In the 80this I attend the women conferance hel by MRS.MILLIKEN that predicte " by 90nitis Michigan will have 90% SERVICE INDUSTRIE! can someone find the "BOOKS"..and do a much better govern,.do running michigan.Time to turn to TOURISM and establish "WELLNESS CLINIC=HOTEL=SPAS. NOW


Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 5:45 p.m.

Well good news...the 369% increase by engler in the road and bridge budget is "finally' getting used. 1990 road + bridge....$ 328 MILLION 2001.................. $ 1,54 BILLION 369% increase HOW much of an increased is neede for the TRAINS to get to and thourgh Michigan and STOP in ypsilanti depot and ohter little cities? THE GOLDEN SPIKE(howell to ANN ARBOR) under "CON STRUTION for OVER 30 YEARS... STATE BUDGET in 1990..... $ 19,6 Billion 2001....... $ 36,5 BILLION 60.7% increse listen to that whistlr we are blow away....We need windturbine now to build michigan into a waterwundrland again!


Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

I back the general principles of Complete Streets that there is a need for street planning to take into account all forms of transportation when designing roadways.As a person who tries to drive only when necessary, and walking when I can, I feel that it is important to consider pedestrians and bicyclists. However, I feel that the MAIN purpose of roads is to provide safe and free flowing traffic for automobiles on most roads. Some of the street revamping in Ann Arbor is a waste of money and either makes driving dangerous for seniors (which I am) and at least causes more stop and go driving, which increases fuel consumption and reduces safety for drivers. Examples?: Going north on South Main Street from Eisenhower to Ann Arbor Saline Road. It used to be a 4 lane street. It is now 3 lanes. When turning left into Woodland Plaza (Busch's) when northbound, there is only a single lane. So, I have several drivers narrowly avoiding accidents, having to jam on their brakes, because they eliminated the second northbound lane there and there is only lane lane for both the constant left turns and straight through traffic. This also cause increased pollution because all the northbound traffic has to stop behind the single driver turning left into the parking lot. Then drivers need to waste gas resuming their 35 MPH again. This dangerous and wasteful situation did not exist w/ the previous road layout of S. Main St. south of A2 Saline rd. Also, at Ashley and Kingsley, The curb was extended WAY out at the northeast corner. It is difficult to make a right turn north onto Ashley when going west on Kingsley, down from Main St. As an older, but safe driver I feel this has turned a safe corner into an unsafe corner. I walk there often and there has never been a situation that needed fixing. Why spend the city's tight money (or whatever tight funding agency's money was used) for this corner. Also, concrete is very polluting to make and transport. Often times, less is more. Also, the City put in the crosswalk at W. Washington on S. Seventh. This is a VERY short block from a crosswalk and traffic light at S. Seventh and is unnecessary. I walk this intersection often, also. On top of it, this crosswalk gives pedestrians a false sense of safety. The sign at the pedestrian Island has been knocked over by vehicles more than once. Again, walk the very short distance to the traffic signal to cross safely.

Kim Galinat

Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.

It is nice to see recognition for equitable transportation options for everyone. Turning the focus towards transit options ensures the stability of access to daily needs such as doctors, grocery stores, work etc. The next step is to help ensure funding for those wanting to improve under the Complete Streets legislation. It is not enough to say their should be equity. There needs to be financial power behind that punch.

Top Cat

Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

This will not bring one new job to Michigan. Pam is patting herself on the back for rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.


Thu, Jul 29, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

Congrats to all! Good job Pam!


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 8:44 p.m.

It is amusing to watch state legislators pat themselves on the back over this bill when local government agencies do not have the money to maintain what they already have. Perhaps legislators can get to work and tackle real issues that promote jobs and addresses infrastructure needs. Stop this nonsense about how this bill will promote good health. You know what stresses your constituents health? Not having a job to pay their bills.


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

... and while you're at it, you might want to consider paving some of those streets, before the only way to drive on them is in an Abrams tank. Sheeeesh!


Wed, Jul 28, 2010 : 4:43 p.m.

This is great news for MI and a nice reminder that it's still possible for bipartisan bills to get through our legislature. Kudos to everyone at for their efforts on this.