Posted: Jun 12, 2012 9:38 AM by Erin Schermele (email@example.com)
Updated: Jun 12, 2012 9:46 AM
Some Great Falls residents were upset with the City Commission's recent vote against a "Complete Streets" policy, but advocates for the plan aren't giving up on equal access for bikers and pedestrians.
Commissioner Fred Burow was one of the four votes that ended the Complete Streets discussion, but he says his vote against the policy wasn't because he disliked the idea of enhanced accessibility.
Burow explained, "It was presented as, this is a tool for staff so we can plan these in...and I thought why do we have to have a resolution...you can plan in anything."
In 2009 a transportation plan was adopted by the city, and included adding bike lanes to streets that needed them.
Commissioner Burow says that should be enough.
But since then, only two bike routes have been designated by signs, and no lanes have been added, which is where the policy comes in.
Despite the lack of a Complete Streets policy, Commissioner Bill Bronson says several projects that include biker and pedestrian accessibility will take place, such as a study on connectivity in the downtown area, and striping bike lanes on 2nd Street South.
Bronson admits the lack of support from the commission is a set back: "So there's lots of small projects that were in the planning stages that will definitely go forward, but certainly nothing as comprehensive or as long term as what the Complete Streets policy would accomplish."
MT State Senator Anders Blewett (D-Great Falls) says he represents many who believe making Great Falls streets complete for all modes of transportation is a must.
Blewett said, "This is much broader than just a bicycle (and) pedestrian issue, People understand that it impacts directly businesses and just the live-ability of this community as far as recruiting goes, as far as attracting new business to set up shop...this affects everybody in really substantial ways."