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County passed complete streets ordinance

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St. Louis County Council approved a complete streets ordinance on Tuesday January 21st, 2014. The goal is to make the streets convenient and accessible for pedestrians, cyclist, as well as motorist. Opponents voiced concerns about the cost and safety of complete streets.

There are over 450 Complete Streets program across America. St. Louis City and municipalities within the county and Columbia, Missouri have Complete Streets projects completed. In 2012 Columbia was rated among the top ten Complete Streets policies. Through out the region sidewalks have been smoothed out so pedestrians in wheel chairs can role on to the side walk. Bike paths have been painted on the streets, some are separate lanes and others are arrows within the right lanes. Opponents voice opponents voiced two objections to the proposal:

  1. opponents argue that painting a separate bike lane on the road not only gives a false sense of security to cyclist but make cycling more dangerous.
  2. Supporters voice concerns about reducing lances to put bike lanes on the roads.

A woman opposing the proposal pointed to a section of Manchester in the city. That portion of Manchester had 2 lanes on the road and cyclist road with traffic. The MODOT reduced a lane and put a bike lane on the section. The woman testified that she road on that section before and after bike lanes was painted on the road and she was hit by a car after a bike lane was installed. Cycling Savvy have a video on how to prevent right hooks. Another opponent argued that drivers are dissatisfied with the reduction of lanes.

Supporters of the bill argue that bike lanes make cycling safer because cyclist don't have to ride in the traffic and it's easier to drive pass cyclist when they're in their own lane. Trailnet, an advocacy group supporting the Compete Streets proposal, point to a study that shows bike lanes reduce accidents between cyclist, pedestrians, and drivers. The ordinance that passed doesn't mandate new bike paths, in fact it's non-biding. It suggest to consider pedestrians, cyclist and drivers when constructing new streets.

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