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Bikes Belong

Complete Streets Bill Now in Both House and Senate

05.05.2008
Boulder, Colorado

Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA), took an important step for safer, better designed streets today by introducing the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2008 into the U.S. House. The bill would make sure that roads built and improved with federal funds safely serve everyone using the roadway - including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, as well as those with disabilities.

"Once again, gas prices have hit record highs this week. As American families continue to feel the pain at the pump due to the skyrocketing costs of gasoline, they are driving less and less," said Rep. Matsui. "By diversifying our roadways, we can provide real alternatives to travel by car."

Meanwhile, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) signed on this week as first Republican co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, S2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008, introduced a few weeks ago by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). This is the first time that comprehensive complete streets bills have been introduced in the House and Senate.

"We commend Rep. Matsui and Senators Coleman, Harkin, and Carper for recognizing the importance of making the best investment possible with our federal transportation dollars," said Barbara McCann, Coordinator of the National Complete Streets Coalition. "States and cities across the country have discovered that completing their streets for all users means safer communities that invite walking, bicycling, and taking transit - and that can help people cope with the rising price of gasoline."

Across the country, many transportation agencies have continued to design many roads primarily for drivers - discouraging bicycling and forcing pedestrians to walk through tracks worn in the grass. Yet men and women outlive their driving years by six and ten years respectively and prefer to walk rather than be stuck at home. Transit users often face dangerous crossings and uncomfortable waits, while people who use wheelchairs or have vision impairments often cannot venture out at all due to a lack of sidewalks and curb ramps. And surveys show Americans of all ages and income levels want safe places to walk and ride bicycles.

Complete Streets policies require transportation planners to take the needs of all users into account in all upcoming transportation projects so the road network can be gradually improved for everyone. Oregon, Virginia, Illinois, California, and Massachusetts are among the states that have adopted complete streets policies or laws; dozens of counties, regional transportation agencies, and cities and regions have also adopted the policies in the last few years, including Ms. Matsui's home jurisdiction of Sacramento, as well as Seattle, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.

The National Complete Streets Coalition includes AARP, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the American Planning Association, Smart Growth America, America Bikes, and many other organizations. Bikes Belong has been a sponsor of the complete streets movement since 2004. For more information, visit www.completestreeets.org.

The Safe and Complete Streets Act is supported by:

AARP, America Bikes, America Walks, American Planning Association, American Public Transportation Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Bikes Belong Coalition, Breathe California, California Park and Recreation Society, California WIC Association, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Easter Seals, Friends of the Earth, League of American Bicyclists, Local Government Commission, National Center for Bicycling and Walking, National Recreation and Parks Association, Prevention Institute, Reconnecting America, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, Safe Kids Greater Sacramento, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Smart Growth America, Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Thunderhead Alliance, Transportation Alliance, Transportation Equity Network, Transport Worker's Union, Transportation and Land Use Coalition, Trust for America's Health, WALKSacramento, YMCA of the USA

###

Contacts
Bikes Belong
303-449-4893
mail@bikesbelong.org
www.bikesbelong.org

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