Clark County Considers Complete Streets

Thursday, April 26, 2018

This May, Clark County Commissioners will begin the process to consider a Complete Streets Ordinance, which originated with the county’s Aging Readiness Task Force that looked into how well the county is prepared to support its older residents. If passed, this will not only mean future projects will accommodate people however they need to travel, but will also allow the County to be eligible for additional funding from Washington's Transportation Improvement Board. As Clark County's population increases, it will continue to see more traffic congestion and longer travel times. Studies have found that providing more travel options reduces congestion, and Complete Streets also provide healthier options for people of all ages and abilities.

complete streets promote good health

Obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. The latest data show that 32 percent of adults are obese, the number of overweight or obese American children nearly tripled between 1980 and 2004. Health experts agree that a big factor is inactivity – 55 percent of the U.S. adult population falls short of recommended activity guidelines, and approximately 25 percent report being completely inactive. Inactivity is a factor in many other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Incomplete streets mean many people lack opportunities to be active as part of daily life. When streets are designed only for cars, they deny people the opportunity to choose more active ways to get around, such as walking and biking. Even where sidewalks exist, large intersections and speeding traffic may make walking unpleasant or even unsafe - discouraging any nonmotorized travel.

We offer our broad support for the Complete Streets update to the County's Comprehensive Plan, which would create a Complete Streets ordinance and add text and two policies to the Plan. Clark County’s existing Comprehensive Plan policy already provides for the building of streets that are safe and convenient for all users, and this Complete Streets ordinance will build upon existing transportation code that meet the complete streets concepts. 

Whether we walk, bike, ride a bus or train, or drive a car, people of all ages and abilities in Clark County need bike lanes, sidewalks, and roadways to accommodate their appropriate mode of travel, including people in wheelchairs and people accessing transit, walking, and riding a bicycle. We need to get to work, to the grocery store, to the park, and to the doctor, and we don’t always want to or are able to do so by car. Everyone wants to be able to travel throughout their area safely and conveniently, so our roadway system should be designed and built for the safety of all travelers – especially those who are too young or too old to drive a car, and those who cannot afford to drive a car. Transportation projects can and should reduce barriers to choosing healthy behaviors and promote health for all.

Learn more about the importance of Health Equity in transportation, download our factsheet. Read The Daily News write up. 

Make your voice hearD - May 17

The County will hold two work sessions in early May, and the Complete Streets Ordinance will come before the Planning Commission on May 17. Interested in testifying to support Complete Streets in Clark County? Let Kari Schlosshauer know and she'll be happy to help with coordination. 

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