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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Streets For Everyone

Town of Plattsburgh Planning Department Head Phil VanBargen speaks about the Complete Streets concept at the Sidewalks Safety Community Forum. 

© 2015 Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – Tues., 03/10/15

The concept is simple. Design and build streets that provide equal access for all citizens: motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, etc.

The concept is complex.  Details like making needed changes while strapped for funds.

Town of Plattsburgh Planning Department Head Phil VanBargen discussed the Complete Streets concept at the Sidewalks Safety Community Forum held at Plattsburgh State.

"The concept of Complete Streets,” he explained,” is to make our streets usable and safe for all users, regardless of their age, their ability, their mobility, or mode of their mobility."

Phiop upl shared his viewpoint on the concept, his reasons for promoting all access roadways.

"My daughter was born with cerebral palsy,” he said.  "She's mobile but challenged in her mobility.  I [bring] to the job the idea of encouraging the Town if Plattsburgh to work with the Complete Streets concept."

He explained why many New York State localities faced a classic dilemma.  Under state legislation passed a few years ago any street project in the state has to consider Complete Streets.  Unfortunately this legislative piece had no money earmarked for it. 

With this limitation Phil and other planners look for ways to include Complete Streets aspects in new projects, working with what funds are available.  He spoke about communities working together with the careful planning.

As an example he spoke about a section of Rugar Street that wasn’t pedestrian friendly, a stretch that crossed from Plattsburgh City into Plattsburgh Town.  People walking to the Stewarts Store had worn a pathway in the grass.

City and Town worked on improvements.  The City extended the sidewalk on its part and from the boundary line the Town widened the shoulders when repaving, giving more room for pedestrians.

Phil also pointed to a private housing development on a street off Rugar, Ampersand Drive.  The builders were including a sidewalk that led to Rugar, an example of a private/public solution.

Through such small solutions, he said, Complete Streets would be implemented.

(Edited for clarity  - 10:35 AM.)


Blogger Tal Hartsfeld said...

How many places in the U.S. do you know of that are designed to accommodate EVERYBODY unconditionally?
Isn't favoritism somewhat of a "national tradition"?

12:34 PM  

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