LETTER: Missouri Department of Transportation should consider Complete Streets movement

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | 7:39 p.m. CDT

It’s scary to walk or bike to stores on highways and busy streets. We get in our cars and drive a couple blocks rather than cross a street on foot. Lots of people tell me that they’d like to bike to work, but there is no good way to get there, and they are right. Rural highways bring business to smaller towns, but they also cut towns in half.

The Complete Streets movement calls for streets that can be driven, walked and biked on. That doesn’t mean our interstates need sidewalks or that rural roads need bike lanes. It means that streets in towns used for biking and walking, as well as driving, should be made for walking and biking and not just for driving. Several communities and states have already adopted Complete Streets policies.

Why does the Missouri Department of Transportation oppose Complete Streets legislation? MoDOT claims it already routinely considers the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. With just one employee out of 6,500 working on bicyclist and pedestrian issues, I find this hard to believe.

Complete Streets passed the House with overwhelming support in 2008, but didn’t make it to vote in the Senate. This year, Complete Streets was a victim of MoDOT lobbying.

I’m disappointed that MoDOT doesn’t support Complete Streets, and I’m troubled that MoDOT is trying to thwart the will of the taxpayers who fund its salaries and its projects.

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