Huge Victory for Spokane!
For over three years, Futurewise worked with the City of Spokane to create an effective Complete Street Policy, writing the policy, educating the community and policy makers, and building a wide coalition of supporters from health care workers, unions, educators, and local businesses. Last week, the City of Spokane adopted the Complete Street Policy by a vote of 5 to 2.
Spokane’s twenty year old Comprehensive Plan’s transportation goals give priority to pedestrians, transit riders and non motorized travelers over vehicles. But the reality on the ground has long been a stark contrast to these policies. Complete Streets policies are everywhere in the Plan, but in far too many cases they were not being implemented when new streets were built, nor when major street repair projects were implemented. For example, in the Plan sidewalks are required on all streets in Spokane, but due to lack of implementation the city has 650 miles of missing sidewalks. Many of these areas are around schools, diminishing walking and biking rates amongst our youth. There are also numerous sidewalks missing along bus routes, making access to bus stops difficult or impossible for people with limited mobility and forcing them to rely on paratransit at six times the cost of using a fixed bus route. In a community with a 43% poverty rate and a large population of citizens with disabilities, lack of pedestrian infrastructure is a significant barrier to mobility.
Futurewise developed the Complete Streets ordinance and led a broad coalition of community leaders and health, housing, and human service organizations to ensure adoption. Now when the City does a major street repair project or when a new street is constructed the City will have to include building/repairing sidewalks, putting in wheelchair ramps, repainting crosswalks and putting in bike lines where called for in the bicycle master plan. The Complete Street Policy will end the practice of designing streets and completing maintenance and transportation projects aimed solely at vehicle infrastructure that ignores the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and people with disabilities.
Listen to Kitty's interview with KPBX:
Read one of the print articles about the decision:
The Pacific Northwest Inlander
Councilman Jon Snyder's web article
The Spokesman Review