YNN’s Terry Ettinger tells us how city streets are being paved with bicyclists and budgets in mind.
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As streets are being restriped and rebuilt or when new streets are being designed, city planners are incorporating a multi-modal approach to encourage more bicycling and walking.
Planning Director for the City of Syracuse Andrew Maxwell said, “I think we can reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions so there’s certainly an environmental benefit to that. In addition to the environmental benefits and reduced congestion, I think that people are looking for more biking and walking opportunities. In these times, people are looking for different ways to get around, ways that might be more affordable. So we can do more things with our infrastructure that offers more options while providing people with the kind of flexibility that they want in their day. I think there’s a public health benefit to this. People are looking for ways they can be more active. This is a way people can get from point A to point B in their day in a healthier manner and we certainly want to encourage that.”
This kind of planning and re-structuring isn’t an isolated case.
“I think we’re seeing cities around the country, large and small, really expand their program as it relates to complete streets and bike networks. I think cities are beginning to get it that this is really a part of the urban fabric as people look to get around,” said Maxwell.
And it’s not an expensive transition.
Maxwell said, “Planning for transportation in this way can be even more affordable than a traditional planning approach that we’ve had of building bigger streets, bigger bridges and things to accommodate more vehicles. I think that we’re finding in the long term we have to spend more dollars in maintenance and upkeep for those facilities. So, for us to put in these kind of facilities that accommodate bikes and pedestrians, we’re finding that not only are people demanding them, asking to use them, but I think we’re finding they’re just as affordable if not more affordable than the traditional transportation approach.”