Policy adopted last year among the best in the nation according to Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition

Last updated: August 14. 2014 9:02PM - 262 Views
Chris Schmiesing

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The National Complete Streets Coalition has recognized Piqua, as a national leader in making streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them.

The assessment is based on Piqua’s Complete Streets Policy, passed last year, which encourages planners and engineers to design and build streets that are safe and convenient for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, or how they travel.

The National Complete Streets Coalition reviewed every policy passed in the United States in 2013 and scored each according to 10 elements of an ideal Complete Streets policy. Piqua’s policy ranked ninth nationwide, scoring a total of 82.4 points out of 100.

The National Complete Streets Coalition points out that creating Complete Streets means agencies must change their approach to community roads, and note that by adopting a Complete Streets policy communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users. This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists – making our town a better place to live.

Design elements of Complete Streets vary from one project to the next, responding primarily to the unique characteristics of a specific location and its community context. This deliberate design approach is intended to ensure that the right of way

improvements are well-suited to both the surrounding land use activities and the movements of vehicles and people using the corridor. Depending on the conditions present, a complete street may include sidewalks, bike lanes, public spaces, frequent crossing opportunities and pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes or a variety of other treatments. Simply stated, Complete Streets balance safety and convenience for everyone using the improvements located within the public right of way.

In 2007, an update to the comprehensive plan revealed Piqua residents prefer places that are well connected to pedestrian and bicycle friendly amenities. The plan also identified a strong community interest in leveraging the highly regarded recreational trail system to provide greater access to destinations throughout the city. Complete Streets principles nicely complement these community interests.

In 2009, the City of Piqua completed a traffic study that identified numerous intersections in the community with unwarranted traffic control devices and less than ideal conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. In response to these findings, the City set about making improvements at ten intersections, with improvements planned for fifteen more, to replace traffic control devices and modify design characteristics to achieve a higher level of comfort and safety for all modes of transportation traveling through the intersections. Around the same time, a Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) committee was formed to identify barriers and obstacles preventing children from being able to walk or bicycle safely to and from school. The work of this group resulted in the City of Piqua securing infrastructure and non-infrastructure SRTS funds to address the concerns that were noted.

In 2012 the findings of a National Citizen Survey in which Piqua participated, once again affirmed the high regard citizens of Piqua have for the recreational trail system and bicycling and walking amenities offered throughout the community.

Today, running, walking, biking, and outdoor recreation and health and fitness enthusiasts meet on a regular basis as an ad-hoc committee known as the Active Living Advisory Council. The regular meetings offer an informal forum for information and idea sharing and networking between agency representatives. These discussions have led to the emergence of a strong bicycling and pedestrian friendly culture in our community.

Combined together these actions have resulted in Piqua receiving regional, state, and national attention for its efforts to cultivate a bicycle and pedestrian friendly environment. In September Piqua will host officials from throughout the region as the Ohio’s Great Corridor Association visits the community to learn about the many good things happening along our stretch of the Great Miami River. In 2015, Piqua will host the Miami Valley Cycling Summit; an event expected to draw over 400 bicycling and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Both events will showcase the many active living attractions visitors and citizens enjoy in Piqua.

As with the National Complete Streets Coalition recognition of the Piqua Complete Streets Policy, the citizens of Piqua recognize the practical benefits of Complete Streets and appreciate the positive influence the policy has on quality of life in our community.

To view the Piqua Complete Streets Policy in its entirety please visit www.piquaoh.org/complete_streets.htm

Chris Schmiesing, City Planner, contact: cschmiesing@piquaoh.org.

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