Complete Streets program to help make communities safe

Governor Jennifer Granholm signed Complete Streets bills in August. The Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) will conduct the first comprehensive examination of their implications and benefits during its Transportation Bonanza event Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 8-9, at the Lansing Center.

Municipal leaders, planners, architects, developers, engineers, public health officials, school administrators and legislators will learn how they can use Complete Streets to make communities safe, healthy and economically vital.

"It's time to bring this new piece of legislation out from under the radar, because it can dramatically affect every community in Michigan," said MAP President Andrea Brown. "It can improve the health and safety of our children, increase access and opportunities for the disabled, reduce congestion and air pollution and help communities promote themselves to new residents and new businesses."

First-day participants will get a general overview on the topic, including presentations by national speakers with first hand experience of how complete streets can transform communities. The second day, sponsored by the Council on New Urbanism (CNU), will provide "how to" technical information based on Institute of Transportation Engineers and CNU standards for walkable, bikable, community-supportive streets.

In the first-day session, planner/scholar Harrison Rue, a principal at ICF International and founding director of the national Citizen Planner Institute, will introduce attendees to the Livability in Transportation Guidebook. Later he will use examples from the guidebook and his planning practice to recommend strategies and tools for integrating innovative mobility projects with broader community goals of health, environment, land form, livability, and sense of place.

The name of Michael Ronkin's Oregon-based company, Designing Streets for Pedestrians and Bicyclists, sums up the gist of his December 8 keynote address. Ronkin will help attendees discover the unexpected elements of managing Complete Streets in a community: Beyond capital spending, it affects maintenance practices, short- and long-term planning, developers' responsibilities, and the very way we think about streets. Ronkin's topic for a later session that day will be Ten Things You Can Do To Create Walkable Streets.

Philip Caruso, PE, FITE, deputy executive director for technical programs at the Institute of Transportation Engineers, oversaw the revision of the ITE's national standards so they went beyond vehicles to accommodate walking and biking and streets oriented towards the function of their communities. He will be a principal speaker on Dec. 9. The City of Lansing will provide living examples of complete streets that day.

One-day registration for the conference is $49 before November 29; $69 after. Two-day registration is $98 and $138, respectively. Information is available at or (734) 913-2000.

Additional sponsors for the Transportation Bonanza are the Michigan Safe Routes to School Program, , the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Michigan Municipal League.

With 4,000 members, the Michigan Association of Planning exists so that Michigan will consist of healthy, safe, attractive, and successful communities built first and foremost on quality community planning. The Ann Arbor-based organization is a chapter of the American Planning Association.

Published: Wed, Nov 24, 2010