Written by Jane K. DoveSpearheaded by Town Board member Dan Welsh, officials are taking a look at adopting a Complete Streets policy for the town of Lewisboro.
Thursday, 17 March 2011 00:00
Thursday, 17 March 2011 00:00
Mr. Welsh has long been an advocate of improving the livability of the town with bike paths, walking trails and other initiatives that would provide links both within and between hamlets.
Complete Streets is a national advocacy organization. “It is an approach to thinking about our streets and roads,” Mr. Welsh told The Ledger. “It is not by origin a government program, but its proponents are encouraging governments at all levels to adopt its principles. Its policies have been adopted in states, counties and towns.”
Mr. Welsh submitted a draft policy for Lewisboro at the March 14 Town Board meeting. Nadine Lemmon, a staff member with the Tristate Transportation Campaign, a proponent of Complete Streets, was on hand at his invitation to answer questions.
Mr. Welsh said the Trsitate Transportation Campaign works to create more sustainable, equitable and transit friendly communities in downstate New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and beyond.
In the policy drafted for review by the Town Board, Mr. Welsh said there is an increased interest and awareness of bike and pedestrian access and safety issues in Lewisboro.
“At its simplest, it is neighbors lamenting that their kids can’t bike around or walk to a friend’s the way they did when they were young,” he said. “More urgently, unsafe conditions at our major intersections have been studied and await improvements. I have prepared a resolution to establish a Complete Streets Policy in response to, and in support of, activity in this area.”
Mr. Welsh said such a policy would provide guidance as the town develops specifics and plans for addressing the deficiencies in the town’s road network and enhances the livability of the community. “Documentation such as this will provide a stronger base for requests made to the state to remedy conditions which negatively impact our residents and limit accessibility in streets and intersections,” he said.
Ms. Lemmon said the driving force behind the policy is that it takes into account all users of roads. She said it allows communities to direct their transportation planner and engineers to design and operate roads with safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability or means of transportation — walking driving or bicycling.
Town board members said they saw both positives and negatives.
“My concern would be making sure that the state roads, which are central to most of our hamlets and businesses, would benefit from this,” Town Board member Peter DeLucia said. “And if we do adopt something, we have to be very mindful of what happens afterwards. We also have economics to consider.”
Town Board member Frank Kelly said: “We do want a plan for pedestrians and bike access. We just have to figure out the best way to do it.”
Officials agreed that Lewisboro is a “bike-friendly” town and that safety issues for both bikers and pedestrians were an important concern.
At the end of the discussion, Town Board members agreed the policy was worth consideration. “Let’s send this on to the Planning Board and Kellard Sessions to see what they think of the concept,” Mr. Welsh said. “We can then discuss it again.”
Mr. Welsh said more information on Complete Streets is available at www.completestreets.org.