Public Comment Wanted: New Draft of Complete Streets Policy

The Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study is seeking public comment on its latest draft of the Complete Streets Policy.  Major changes are:

  1. Completely rewritten to use better “plain speak. “
  2. Applicable Project types changed. CPM changed to road rehabilitation (greater than 2″). Bridge CPM removed to only bridge reconstruction.
  3. Complete streets task force renamed to complete streets review committee.
  4. Added more regarding context-sensitive solutions and demonstrated usage.
  5. Removed portions of design guidance and some of the recommendations to local agencies from KATS.

The newest draft may be downloaded by clicking –> Complete Streets Draft 6-6-2014

Comments may be posted below or emailed to

3 thoughts on “Public Comment Wanted: New Draft of Complete Streets Policy

  1. I am an active transportation advocate in northern Michigan, and i support the road commissions’ objecting to the complete streets plan for its lack of adequate allowances for context sensitive design solutions.

    If the preferred design alternative is first always a sidewalk, this will slow implementation of better designed road corridors for all road users.

    Road Commissions in Michigan should compel M-DOT to develop a more robust portfolio of complete street design alternatives for inclusion into the design guide, the M-MUTCD. A new palate of designs that would then be standard choices for: low volume, ‘local’ roads, to allow economical, contiguous-to-grade pedestrian accommodations, using traffic warrants set by M-DOT.

    Enhanced corridors with wider shoulders and a slightly wider stripe or small buffer may be a very acceptable design facility for multi-modal use on many low traffic, low speed roads in Michigan. Winter is a particularly vexing time in Northern Michigan, where pedestrians walking preference is frequently to avoid snowy sidewalks to walk on the side of the road anyway!

    Putting in sidewalks everywhere is a lot of ROW and a lot of unnecessary expense. Many ruralban residents do not want sidewalks, and in some local zones of low traffic, sidewalks may not have to be warranted.

    -but a slightly better design standard than the four foot shoulder is needed.

    Here in the north, we’ve got some city street corridors striped with six foot shoulders as undesignated walking routes. This evening, I asked a couple walking in one of our six foot wide urban shoulders some questions about their level of comfort as i biked past; they were very satisfied using that facility.

    A complete street roadway cross section for the rural:urban transect that does NOT include sidewalks, using instead an at grade, proximate pedestrian facility – a “Super Shoulder” – should be added to the M-MUTCD.

    The road commission should have more discretion to use design alternatives that still consider all modes of traffic. IF M-DOT provides the ready design alternatives in the M-MUTCD, county road commissions could more easily implement cost effective, context sensitive, complete streets.

    Mike Beck
    Better Bicycling Bureau

    • Mike,
      We appreciate the comments.

      Please not that this policy covers only our Urban Area, not the rural areas of the MPO.
      It also notes “If the inclusion of a sidewalk is anticipated to be overly burdensome to the project and
      therefore infeasible, or there is not a demonstrated need, acceptable alternatives are
      -A wide paved shoulder (4ft or wider) or designated bicycle lanes within the
      roadway project
      -A shared use path of a sufficient width to accommodate both pedestrian and
      bicycle travel simultaneously.”

      I 6ft or wider shoulder would be great for many users.
      Thanks again for the comments.

  2. Suggested Revisions from Complete Streets Coalition National Office submitted by the Complete Streets Coalition of Kalamazoo

    General Comments
    If the intent of this document is to include bicycle, pedestrian and transit facilities then a mandate for alternate transportation facilities should expressly say “shall” or “will” not “should’, “may”, “suggested” or “strongly encouraged”.

    2.0 Visions and Goals
    All users and modes: Indirectly addresses in definition in draft. However all modes and users are not explicitly defined, it’s not clear what “everyone” refers to.

    4.0 Links to Transportation Planning Process
    Under network connectivity traffic calming devices (examples of which are curb extensions or bump outs, boulevards, hawks (pedestrian signalization)), speed tables for pedestrian crosswalks and speed humps are not mentioned yet needed on main streets.

    6.0 Design Guideline References
    This section would benefit from including a few specific examples of design guidance.
    e.g. additional new trees needed.

    7.0 Implementation
    Implementation next steps: It would benefit from explicitly outlining what policies and procedures would be reviewed to effectively implement the policy (it only mentions subdivision regulations). It would also benefit from setting goals for performance measures and explaining how the policy will affect future funding priorities.

    Would local projects not be funded if the local jurisdiction does not have a Complete Streets policy?

    What are the policies for conflict of interest?

    8.0 Exception Process
    Clear, accountable exceptions: outlines a well-defined process, but the non-administrative exceptions are too broad, especially since only municipalities and agencies are represented on the committee approving those (and potentially other) exceptions

    Why is an administrative exemption granted by staff?

    9.0 Complete Streets Review Committee
    Composition of Complete Streets Review Committee needs to reflect all users served. There needs to be a representative from the bicycling, pedestrian, transit and disabled community on the task force to serve on the Review Committee.

    10.0 Policy Evaluation and Performance Measures
    Standards need to be set and outcomes measured

    Measurement benchmarks are needed in network connectivity

    Need additional numeric benchmarks
    • Total miles of bike lanes/trails built or striped
    • Linear feet of new pedestrian accommodation
    • Number of ADA accommodations built
    • Compliments and complaints
    • Bicycle, Pedestrian and Multimodal Levels of Service (LOS) needed
    • Transportation mode shift, provided by the Household Travel Survey

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