The Union Recorder

May 24, 2013

Complete Streets ordinance back with changes

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — At the end of March, Milledgeville City Council withdrew the second reading of the new Complete Streets Policy allowing for modification.

Mayor Richard Bentley assigned a Bicycle Pedestrian advisory ad hoc committee made up of community health advocates along with Councilmen Steve Chambers, District 6, and Phillip Joiner, District 4, to review the policy. After nearly two months, Chambers briefed Council on the ordinance changes during Wednesday’s work session.

The Complete Streets ordinance would apply to all new construction and reconstruction of roadways under city jurisdiction. The ordinance reads, “roadway projects, to the extent practical, should accommodate all users of the transportation system.”

“It’s basically stating that as we look at streets in the future we will keep in mind all modes of transportation,” Chambers said. “The ordinance is stating that we will plan to do this.”

Goals include:

• balancing the safety and convenience of all users of transportation system including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people with disabilities, the elderly, motorists, freight providers, emergency responders, golf carts and adjacent land users;

• incorporating policy principles into all aspects of the transportation project development process;

• creating a comprehensive, integrated and connected transportation network through the city;

• ensuring the use of the latest and best design standards, policies and guidelines;

• recognizing the need for flexibility to accommodate different types of streets and users; and

• making sure the Complete Streets design solutions fit within the context of the community.

Several minor changes from the previous ordinance draft are the inclusion that the city will follow the most recent version of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities. The current ordinance states the city may also use the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

An additional exception freeing the city from the Compete Streets Policy occurring where the municipality determines that the cost of accommodation is disproportionate to the need or probable use made this ordinance version.

“If it’s not cost-effective, we can back out from having to do it at that point in time,” Chambers said Wednesday.

The Complete Streets Policy first read of the new draft will occur during Tuesday’s regular meeting. Chambers informed Council he would request to rescind the second read.

City Manager Barry Jarrett cited a concern about the Greene Street extension project already scheduled as part of Streetscape Phase 3. As long as city engineer Mark Patrick is aware of the ordinance provisions, Jarrett supported the move toward adoption.

“I’m going to have to make sure that Mark [Patrick] has these provisions included. If not, I’m going to recommend that we don’t pass this thing because we can’t stop that project at this point,” Jarrett said. “That project is scheduled to start in June. The funding is in place. We’ve had all kinds of delays. It’s going to have to go.”

Greene Street will eventually serve as a Central City Park and Oconee River Greenway connector. Embracing the transportation policy could encourage college students and citizens to utilize other ways to transverse the city.

“Hopefully over time, we can get more students to try and bring bicycles to get around as opposed to bringing their car downtown and taking up a parking spot,” the councilman said.

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