Shawnee City Commission: Complete Streets policy gets nod from board

Vicky O. Misa

On Tuesday Shawnee City Commissioners approved a resolution to adopt a Complete Streets Policy.

Planning Director Rebecca Blaine said she wanted to present the policy that was originally heard and deferred at a November 2018 workshop.

She explained to the board that Complete Streets is an approach to planning and designing streets and street networks that prioritizes safe and convenient access for all modes and users, regardless of age or ability.

“This approach stands in contrast to transportation planning and design processes that prioritize the movement of automobiles over all other modes,” she said.

More than 1,500 cities, counties and regional planning agencies have adopted such policy statements, she said.

Blaine said the National Complete Streets was coalition was formed in 2005.

“This concept is 15 years old,” she said. “Several communities across the state have adopted these policies, most of which started a decade ago.”

She listed several examples of cities that have adopted Complete Streets policies: Claremore (2019), Collinsville (2012), Edmond (2010), Guthrie (2011), Lawton (2011), Muskogee (2016), Owasso (2015), Pryor Creek (2016), Sand Springs (2013) and Tulsa (2012).

On that list are small, mid-tier and large-sized communities, she said.

“This policy gives us ground to implement the best practices when we have roadway infrastructure improvements,” she said. “That could be maybe for widening 45th Street when we want to take into consideration moving people, not just vehicles, across that.”

She said it also takes into consideration different categories of streets.

“We have arterial, local, collectors, and we have the ability to apply these as needed,” she said.

There is no pass or fail as far as the policy goes, she said.

“We do have some measurements that can be collected and reported on an annual basis,” Blaine said. “They include, but are not limited to, changes in traffic count, linear feet of new and repaired sidewalks, total miles of new bike lanes, number of new and repaired curb ramps, and miles of on-street bicycle routes.”

She said the concept is nothing new, 33 states across the country have adopted a Complete Streets policy at a state level for DOT.

“It's my understanding, as part of a stakeholder committee for ODOT, it is something that we're looking at implementing in our new state-wide transportation plan,” she said. “Our Lt. Gov. (Matt Pinnell) talks about Complete Streets being safe streets and that infrastructure being a tool for economic development; that is something I have heard you talk about that when people are looking to locate their businesses somewhere, we want them to pick Shawnee over all other considerations.”

Blaine said she believes this helps keep Shawnee ahead of them, and would like to do so.

The resolution passed 6-0-1; Ward 6 Shawnee City Commissioner Ben Salter abstained.