Posted: Jun 28, 2012 9:18 AM by Katie Stukey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Updated: Jun 28, 2012 9:19 AM
More than 100 people marched and rode their bikes down the middle of Central Avenue in Great Falls on Wednesday evening to send a message to the city's leaders that pedestrian-friendly streets are a must.
The crowd was marching in support of the "Complete Streets" policy that tossed out by City Commissioners earlier this month.
Anders Blewett, one of the rally organizers, exclaimed to the crowd, "That's what this is all about! This is the future of downtown Great Falls! This is the future of this community! This is the big fat tax spenders!"
The idea behind the proposal was to make roads safer for all modes of transportation through bike lanes and better sidewalks, but the only one of the five commissioners to support the proposal was Bill Bronson.
Bronson says that many residents have asked him if the "complete streets" idea is dead since the commission voted it down; to them, Bronson says, "We may not have a policy, but there's gonna be a lot of opportunities to support individual projects over the next several month to maybe year that'll help bring about complete streets."
Also attending the Wednesday event was Commissioner Mary Jolley, who, although she voted against the proposal, said, "I've been on these steps before on issues that I think...more people came and cared about those issues. The city of Great Falls is going a lot to do what these folks want which are complete streets."
Jolley says Great Falls is a great place to ride a bike and that only minor improvements are needed, and those can be accomplished through other projects already in place.
Proponents of "complete streets" say the policy was about much more than roads, such as attracting new business and having tools in place to recruit.