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City Set to Adopt “Complete Street” Policy

At last night’s Council meeting, the City council discussed the complete street policies for College Park.

“Complete Street” means a street or roadway that allows safe and convenient travel by all of the following categories of users: pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, motorists, seniors and children and that creates a shared space for all users to the extent practicable.

“Complete streets” should not be confused with the “Green Streets”’, which mean a roadway that incorporates plantings or other vegetative practices along the ROW that are designed to reduce the amount of pollutants in storm water runoff. Curb or storm drain modifications are usually necessary to divert the storm water into these practices. Runoff that has traversed through these practices enters the storm drain system with fewer pollutants.

Complete Streets include “Pedestrian Infrastructure”, which in turn includes sidewalks, paths, bus shelters, benches and other street furniture and pedestrian lighting within the public ROW. In it, aslo included “Bicycle Infrastructure” including bicycle racks, bike share stations and equipment, bicycle trails, lanes, sharrows, and signage within the public ROW.

Here is a list of policies that the City is proposing to adopt at next week’s meeting:

1. Every transportation project, and phase of that project (including planning, scoping, funding, design, approval, implementation), by the City shall strive to provide for Complete and Green Streets for all categories of users identified in Section A.1. of this policy recognizing the need for flexibility in balancing user needs.

2. Wherever possible, transportation projects shall strive to create a network of continuous bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets including streets that connect with transit and provide convenient access to residential areas, commercial areas and schools. Streets shall include provisions for trees and strive to incorporate green streets techniques where appropriate.

3. All Complete and Green Streets shall be designed to be context sensitive taking into consideration the character of the surrounding neighborhood. It is recognized that the City has ROW’s with variable widths and other conditions that may affect the design of a roadway.

4. The Planning Department and City Engineer shall coordinate with all stakeholders including residents, neighborhood associations and County and State agencies to create Complete and Green Streets on all roadways serving the City.

5. The Planning Department and City Engineer shall coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions and other public agencies to enable, wherever possible, connections to bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly routes beyond the City’s boundaries.

6. The City shall rely upon the current editions of street design standards and green streets guidelines that promote and support Complete and Green Streets including but not limited to the following:
• Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide (National Association of City Transportation Officials – NACTO) • Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A context sensitive approach (Institute of Transportation Engineers/Congress for the New Urbanism) • Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration) • Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration) • Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration)
• Municipal Handbook: Green Streets (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

The next steps for implementation include the following:
1. Compile an inventory of all City Streets in a database that includes ROW width, pavement width, curb and gutter, parking facilities, transit accommodations, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and storm water management facilities. 2. Identify incomplete City streets particularly where the conditions are conducive to the construction of bicycle and pedestrian features to take advantage of funding available for this purpose. 3. Evaluate Capital Improvement Program projects, including the Pavement Management Plan, for the potential to include complete and green streets practices. 4. Seek supplemental sources of funding, including public and private sources, to assist in the implementation of this policy. 5. Examine Complete and Green Streets design standards and practices during the development review process for all new development in the City and make every effort to implement them. 6. Utilize interdepartmental coordination and provide appropriate staff training to promote the efficient and responsible implementation of this policy. 7. Include implementation of this policy in the City’s strategic action plan.
D. EXCEPTIONS TO POLICY AND IMPLEMENTATION CONSTRAINTS
This section recognizes that there may be limiting factors to implementation of this policy. A specific category of user may be excluded if one or more of the following conditions apply: 1. Use of the roadway is prohibited by law for the category of user (e.g., pedestrians on an interstate freeway). In this case, efforts shall be made to accommodate the excluded category of user on a parallel route. 2. There is an absence of both a current and future need to accommodate the category of user shown via demographic, school, employment, and public transportation route data that demonstrate a low likelihood of bicycle, pedestrian or transit activity in an area over the next 20 years. 3. The cost would be excessively disproportionate to the current need or future need over the next 20 years.
4. There is less than 35 feet of ROW width available and the City is unable to acquire additional ROW or obtain easements for the accommodations.
5. There are site-specific constraints such as topography (steep slopes) or mature vegetation.
6. There is no community support for the proposed project.
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E. PERFORMANCE MEASURES
In order to evaluate whether the City transportation network is adequately serving each category of user, The Planning Department and City Engineer shall collect baseline and annual data on matters relevant to this Policy, including the following information: 1. Linear feet of pedestrian infrastructure 2. Number and type of other pedestrian infrastructure 3. Miles of bike lanes and sharrows 4. Number and type of other bicycle infrastructure improvements 5. Number of curb ramps 6. Square feet of green street infrastructure 7. Number of street trees 8. Total funding allocated to Complete and Green Streets projects
F. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
One year from the effective date of this Policy, and annually thereafter, the Planning Department and City Engineer shall submit a report to the City Council on the progress made in implementing this Policy that shall include the following:
1. Baseline and updated performance measures as described in Section (E)
2. A summary of all Transportation Projects planned or undertaken and their status
3. Any recommendations for improving implementation of this Policy

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