January 13, 2021WHITEFIELD — Whitefield resident and board member of the Whitefield Economic Development Commission, Jared Cape, has issued a petition to speak at the next Town Meeting in regards to a 'Complete Streets' initiative.
The idea of Complete Streets is to deliver safe, comfortable, convenient access to community destinations and other public places wether it be via walking, driving or cycling. As described via Smart Growth America, "A Complete Streets approach integrates people and place in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of our transportation networks. This helps to ensure streets put safety over speed, balance the needs of different modes, and support local land uses, economies, cultures, and natural environments. A Complete Street in a rural area will look quite different from a Complete Street in a highly urban area, but both are designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road."
Bringing it to the local level in Whitefield, Cape said, "At Whitefield town meetings we've discussed the need to fix our streets and sidewalks as well as slow vehicles down as they move through Whitefield's downtown. The resolution that I am putting forward helps us get to those goals."
Cape states that a 'Complete Streets' resolution encourages the town to think critically about the design of the town's streets and how it promotes our community's health, safety, accessibility, and economic development.
"When it comes to 'Complete Streets,' it's about designing a transportation network that meets the needs of the community. Every street doesn't need every bell and whistle to meet community needs. There is no one 'right' way to do 'Complete Streets,'" he noted.
Cape explains that a 'Complete Streets' resolution will give the initiative a leg up when competing for grant money. He says it's a non-binding document that demonstrates community support and promotes the bundling of road and sidewalk projects.
He added, "If we are redoing a road, why not use those funds as a grant match for sidewalk maintenance and other improvements?"
The 2017 WMRHS graduate, brought the concept of a 'Complete Streets' resolution to a Whitefield Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) meeting. The non-profit group promoting economic development invited the North Country Council Transportation Planner Katie Lamb to give a presentation at a select board meeting.
Cape said, "The WEDC encourages Whitefield residents to attend the Jan. 25 select board meeting to learn more about 'Complete Streets' and what it might mean for our community. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., and will be held over Zoom.
The Complete Streets Resolution in its entirety is listed below.
"WHEREAS, Streets need to be accessible, convenient, and connected corridors for all transportation modes and users that complement and support adjoining land uses, buildings, and community character, and
WHEREAS, Streets that support and invite multiple uses, including safe, active, and ample space for pedestrians, bicycles, and public transportation, contribute to the public life of a community, economic vitality, sustainable development, and efficient movement of people and goods, and
WHEREAS, Encouragement of non-motorized transportation increases mobility, reduces transportation costs, enhances community connections, improves public health, advances environmental stewardship, reduces fuel consumption, and maximizes the use roadway infrastructure, and
WHEREAS, Complete Streets are defined as streets that are designed and operated to be safe, convenient and comfortable for all ages and abilities using any mode of transportation (motor vehicle, public transportation, foot, bicycle, etc.); and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town of Whitefield will incorporate Complete Streets design features and practices in planning, design, approval, and implementation process for any construction, reconstruction, retrofit, maintenance, alteration, or repair of streets, bridges, or other portions of the transportation network whenever feasible so that users of all ages and abilities can travel safely and independently; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town of Whitefield will actively engage the public in discussion of Complete Streets policies, document implementation actions within the master plan, ordinances and regulations, and capital improvement programs, plan for grant funding, and seek out grant funding to encourage the implementation of Complete Streets; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall take effect immediately."