Monday, October 27, 2008

New Haven Complete Streets Legislation Passes Board

On Thursday, October 23rd, the New Haven Board of Aldermen unanimously passed legislation establishing a "complete streets" steering committee. See here for press coverage of the public hearings that led up to this vote, and here for a copy of the legislation.

Committee to examine equal use of streets, New Haven Register, 10/24/08

The Board of Aldermen gave the green light Thursday night to establishing a steering committee which will develop a "complete streets" policy granting equal rights for pedestrians and bicyclists in their daily battle with motorists. The committee ultimately will propose "complete streets" legislation based on these egalitarian principles.

The aldermen approved the measure unanimously after hearing appeals for support from Alderman Roland Lemar, D-9, and Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale, D-14. Lemar, of East Rock, and Sturgis-Pasacale, of Fair Haven, said street safety is a big issue in their neighborhoods. The vote also came in the wake of a Sept. 22 public hearing in which 40 members of the public submitted testimony endorsing the idea. The steering committee will adopt designs to reduce motor vehicles' speed, guarantee input from all residents and educate everybody about the rules of the road. Lemar said bicyclists, children, the elderly and the disabled are particularly vulnerable to being struck by motor vehicles and deserve to be safeguarded.

Sturgis-Pascale said about 30 percent of New Haven residents don't own a car. "We need to think more carefully about how they're going to get around; how they'll get to work or to school." She said the new policy will not be "anti-motorist" and drivers won't be expected to drive 5 mph. After the meeting, Sturgis-Pascale said Board President Carl Goldfield will appoint the three aldermanic members of the steering committee (she and Lemar are expected to be included) and Mayor John DeStefano Jr. will appoint three city staffers and three members of the general public. "The policy will say all users have the right to equal access," she said. "That's a moral statement. Now it's very lopsided in favor of cars."

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