City Council Asked to Commit to Safer Streets
Our Editorial in the Gazette today.
Streets should work for everyone -- not just cars and trucks.
At the January 19, 2021 City Council meeting, the City Council was asked to adopt a Complete Streets Resolution for new road construction and maintenance that takes into account all methods of transportation: cars and trucks, plus transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Sustainable Stillwater MN wants city planners to consider bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities because they are the most at risk for serious injury or death when involved in motor vehicle-related collisions. Quality of life, environmental health, and economic competitiveness are benefits of Complete Streets enjoyed by 15 other Minnesota cities that have a Complete Streets policy, Rick Heidick of Sustainable Stillwater explained.
Why not us too?
Complete Streets is supported by Lakeview Hospital and Stillwater Medical Group which says, “There is a very big need for safety. There are way too many close calls of hospital and clinic staff and patients almost getting run over by vehicles. People drive way too fast and are very distracted. Complete Streets is a great avenue to make our local businesses and community grow and thrive. We are a large part of the community and are willing to support Complete Streets and other sustainability needs.”
Councilors seemed interested in the guidelines — they “fit right in” with what the city is already doing, according to Mayor Ted Kozlowski.
The Sustainable Stillwater MN Complete Streets Resolution submitted to the City Council reads in part, “Whereas, the City of Stillwater strives to be the most livable city in Minnesota, and
Whereas, the City of Stillwater recognizes that livability includes safely moving people and goods along all public rights-of-way; and
Whereas, the City of Stillwater recognizes that children and seniors are especially vulnerable to pedestrian and bicycling crashes; and
Whereas, the City of Stillwater recognizes that Complete Streets are designed and constructed for all users of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and vehicles… be it resolved that the Stillwater City Council adopts a Complete Streets policy to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and adhered to during ongoing construction of new streets and the maintenance of existing streets.”
Planning Director Bill Turnblad said his department hasn't reviewed the resolution but he thinks Complete Streets is consistent with resolutions the city has already made. The Mayor said the resolution might have "too much overlap" with existing city plans and ordinances but he requested relevant city department heads review the resolution as proposed by Sustainable Stillwater MN.
City Councilor Mike Polehna thanked Rick for making the presentation, adding he "appreciates the "brainpower" Sustainable Stillwater MN is employing for the city.
Sustainable Stillwater MN is a nonprofit organization aiming to make Stillwater more green, sustainable, and resilient. Their website is SustainableStillwaterMN.org