Peggy Laemle and I first proposed the idea of a Complete Streets Policy to the City of Highland Park in 2009, and are excited to report that it has been approved by City Council. The Plan “lays out a vision and practical steps that the City can take over the coming years to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in Highland Park…”, according to the minutes of the Council meeting.
Many advocates of making streets safer for all users were in the audience ready to read their prepared statements in favor of passage of this plan. Before we could say a word, any word, a City Council member moved to accept the plan, which was quickly seconded. Before the vote was called, Michael Blue, Director of Community Development, took a moment to thank all those who had worked so hard on this plan including City staff members Lee Smith and Joe Pasquesi; the Transportation Commission, Plan Commission, and Natural Resource Commission; the many advocates who worked for over 3 years to move the plan forward; and advisors from the Active Transportation Alliance.
The Complete Streets policy shows a commitment by the City of Highland Park to accommodate all users of the roadways, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and motorists in all new transportation projects whenever appropriate, including the design of new facilities and the improvement and maintenance of existing roads and sidewalks. It is in keeping with Highland Park's Sustainability Plan goals, and the Healthy Highland Park initiative.
We are fortunate to live in a community with excellent bicycle and pedestrian access. The passage of this Policy will ensure that future projects maintain Highland Park’s character. Complete streets play an important role in livable communities, where all people – regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation – feel safe and welcome on the roadways.
by Kim Stone and Peg Laemle