The City of Delaware is committed to making the community’s streets more accessible to all forms of transportation. During Monday’s meeting of Delaware City Council, a resolution was unanimously passed adopting a “Complete Streets” policy in the city.
Complete Streets began as a grassroots movement in 2005, and it is now a national initiative led by the National Complete Streets Coalition. Delaware joins many communities around central Ohio in making the commitment to evolving transportation routes to accommodate more people.
City Engineer Bill Ferrigno said the concept of Complete Streets looks at the public right-away — sidewalks and streets — as not being solely for motor vehicles, but for all forms of transportation. Specifically, Ferrigno said pedestrians, cyclists, and smaller motorized vehicles such as Bird bikes are modes of transportation that are factored into Complete Streets.
“It looks at sharing that space with all of those modes of transportation, which could involve things like curb bump-outs, enhanced crossings, reducing lanes, and road diets,” Ferrigno said. “These are all parts of what a Complete Streets package is … These are tools that we should look at any time we do a project. Is there a way that we can make improvements to our street network that would serve more than just motor vehicles? That would help the pedestrians, crossing safety and cyclists? That’s what Complete Streets is really about.”
City documents for the resolution state, “Such policy would address issues concerning multimodal forms of transportation, and how these alternate forms of transportation are best accommodated through policy, land development regulations and capital planning. Examples of such projects include designated bikeways, bike lanes, accessible streets, intersection improvements, bike parking, etc.”
“This is a long time coming,” Ferrigno said of the resolution. “We’ve been working on this with MORPC (Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission) since 2017 when we successfully applied for a grant for MORPC staff time to create a Complete Streets document for us…”
Ferrigno said part of the application process for grant funding from both the state and federal government requires Complete Street improvements. He added the city would be applying for funding from MORPC next week, highlighting the need for the city to make the commitment to a Complete Streets policy as soon as possible.
Involved in the discussions of Delaware’s need for a Complete Streets policy was the Delaware General Health District (DGHD), as well as the city’s Parks and Natural Resources Department. Abbey Trimble, of the DGHD, said during Monday’s meeting, “Having a Complete Streets policy will definitely help increase the public health.”
“The Complete Streets policy will be an instrumental tool to allow us to follow up on some of the recreational needs input we have received from the community regarding the trail connections,” Ted Miller, director of city’s Parks and Natural Resources Department, said.
Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said it was already the city’s intention to bring forward a Complete Streets policy as part of the “emerging” comprehensive plan, and “as luck would have it, that (Complete Streets) policy is now ready to go.” He added that even the existing comprehensive plan has “a lot of notes about what we would now call Complete Streets.”