Following presentations by Scott McCullough, Lawrence Planning and Development Services Director, and Mark Thiel, Lawrence Assistant Public Works Director, the public was invited to speak.
“Streets are important to the health and productivity of our community. Streets serve young and old, motorists, cyclists, walkers, wheeled mobility device users, bus riders and businesses,” said Charlie Bryan, community health planner at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
Bryan, facilitator of the Lawrence Complete Streets Committee, addressed the commission.
The Lawrence Complete Streets Committee, formed in Jan. 2011 by LiveWell Lawrence, has been highlighting the value of enacting policies that consistently create safe transportation networks for all users. LiveWell Lawrence is a community initiative focused on making it easy for Lawrence residents to eat healthy foods and be more physically active.
Dot Nary, a member of the Lawrence Complete Streets Committee, also addressed the commission.
“We need more policies that encourage use of our accessible bus system, more street environments that are pleasant to wheel in, and more efforts to increase opportunities for people with disabilities to
work, recreate, contribute and participate in their neighborhoods and the entire city,” Nary said.
“Lawrence is a great place to live,” added Nary, who is also a member of the Access Task Force of Independence, Inc. and a researcher at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas. “Adoption of a Complete Streets policy will make it an even better place to live with a disability, age and live well.”
Complete streets policies encourage people to get around safely, even when they aren’t inside a car. Unlike conventional street design, complete streets are designed and built so that people of all ages and abilities can travel easily and safely, while also getting the regular physical activity that is so critical to improving health and well-being. Complete streets design elements include sidewalks, bike lanes, paved shoulders, bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes and more.
According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, 315 regional and local jurisdictions, 26 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have adopted complete streets policies or have made written commitment to do so.