During Tuesday’s meeting, Powell City Council voted to approve a resolution supporting a Complete Streets Initiative to align the city’s future transportation projects with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)’s Complete Streets Policy.

MORPC first adopted its Complete Streets Policy in 2010 and adopted an update to the policy in 2021. All transportation projects receiving MORPC-attributable federal funding are now required to comply with the Complete Streets Policy. According to MORPC’s policy, complete streets are defined as roadways designed, implemented, operated, and maintained in an equitable and context-sensitive manner so that people of all ages, incomes, and abilities can use them safely.

“These streets consider the needs of all people, including, but not limited to, people walking, bicycling, using shared mobility devices and assistive devices, using transit and riding school buses, driving, and operating commercial and emergency vehicles,” the policy states.

The policy later states, “As central Ohio experiences historic population growth, a regional Complete Streets Policy can help to guide public transportation infrastructure investments in a manner that supports regional safety, multimodal mobility, and sustainability goals while accommodating population growth and shifts in development. This policy builds upon previous efforts to develop a comprehensive, multimodal transportation system and promotes integration with sustainable land use development.”

Powell’s adopted resolution echoes MORPC’s goal of ensuring the design and modification of streets consider the needs of all people “where practicable,” and it was noted during Tuesday’s discussion that the resolution isn’t a binding agreement forcing the city to adhere to the policy regardless of the city’s best interest.

In a memo sent to the council ahead of Tuesday’s considerations, City Manager Andrew White said the resolution, if approved, would be followed by efforts such as:

• Reviewing and proposing updates to the city code sections regarding zoning, engineering and building regulations.

• An increased focus on street design that is context-sensitive and incorporates principles and practices that focus the function of a street around the movement of people, balance mobility for everyone, and minimize negative impacts on the environment.

• Planning for facilities and amenities that will serve people of all ages, incomes and abilities.

Other central Ohio governments that have adopted their own Complete Streets policies, resolutions, or ordinances include Columbus, Delaware, Dublin, Franklin County, Hilliard, Gahanna, Liberty Township, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington.

“It really is an opportunity, I think, to open the door to a conversation about future additions and modifications moving forward,” White told the council on Tuesday. “The baseline of this resolution is its reliance upon MORPC’s Complete Streets Policy. … I’m pleased to point out that the projects staff has been promoting, incorporate the best policy initiatives of the Complete Street Policy for the last several years and will continue to do that. But this is a major initiative that we’ll talk about and one that will open us up, I believe, to more funding opportunities.”

Expanding on the importance of the city aligning with MORPC’s Complete Streets Policy, City Engineer Aaron Stanford said, “When they review a project they’re going to look at for attributable funding, they’re going to refer back to their policy for the criteria for development. So when they score that project and determine whether it’s eligible or not, they’re going to lock toward that set of criteria.”

Prior to being recommended to the council, the Complete Streets Initiative was analyzed and discussed twice by the Development Committee.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.