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State’s Top Transportation Board Responds to Michigan VoicesPrint

Thriving Communities | July 27, 2012 | By James Bruckbauer

Yesterday, Michigan officially adopted a statewide Complete Streets policy.

Yesterday, Michigan officially adopted a statewide Complete Streets policy.

When Michigan citizens have a chance to raise their voices to make their communities better, they usually heed the call. And, once again, it worked.

Yesterday, the Michigan State Transportation Commission, a six-member board that establishes policy and plans for Michigan’s transportation department, formally adopted a “Complete Streets” policy.  The policy will direct Michigan Department of Transportation planners to keep all users in mind – including bicyclists, transit riders, motorists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities – when they design and maintain state roads like Division Street in Traverse City an M-22 in Leelanau County. “Complete Streets” policies make roads safer, better and more efficient.

After the commission released a draft policy earlier this month, many citizens and bicycle and pedestrian advocates around the state challenged the board to revise the policy to include stronger, clearer and more specific language with firm timelines for implementation.

And the commissioners listened. In response to a flurry of emails, letters and an online petition that reached nearly 2,500 signatures, they changed the policy to include much stronger language and clear timeliness.

The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition has a breakdown of some of the changes that were made to the policy. Check out their blog post to read more.

Check out a pdf. of the Complete Streets policy here.

In Traverse City, as the Division Street discussions heat back up, this policy could give many of us locals a stronger voice and meaningful say into any design process for this crucially important part of town.

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org. MLUI is a member of the broad, statewide Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M) coalition that is working to create a stronger Michigan through transportation policy reform.