Berkley, Novi pass Complete Streets resolutions, other cities consider the same

Berkley was the ninth Michigan city to pass a Complete Streets resolution earlier this month, and more cities are looking at their own resolutions, as well.

The city voted to adopt the Complete Streets policy earlier this month; now the planning commission will be working on a master plan amendment to address that issue. The groundwork will likely be laid and money appropriated within six months, says Amy Vansen, a city planner with Berkley.

“I think Berkley has always been very pedestrian sensitive,” she says. “It is a walkable community, and that is something that is very much valued.”

The city already considers street layout and how business windows and doors face thoroughfares, for example. Additional research might be needed for walkways — is it better to have a 4-foot-wide sidewalk to accommodate a bench, or a 6-foot-wide sidewalk for foot and bike traffic?

“I think a lot of conversations needs to happen so when improvements are made, they’re made in the best way possible,” Vansen says.

Novi adopted a resolution in August, and Saline was also an early adopter of the Complete Streets program, passing its resolution last month.

Jana Ecker, a planner with the city of Birmingham, said although that city is already a walkable community, there isn’t a resolution in place yet. For example, the city doesn’t have bike lanes. “It will require some changes from what we do now,” she says. She expects the city will take another look at the ordinance in November, after it’s reviewed.

A Complete Street means it’s safe and convenient not only for car travel, but also for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as accessible to public transportation. Legislation was passed in August to encourage cities to incorporate sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, and crossing opportunities into road planning. Cycling and pedestrian advocates were on board with the legislation, but healthy living and senior advocates benefit as well.

Source: Amy Vansen, Berkley city planner; Jana Ecker, Birmingham city planner; Michigan Complete Streets Coalition
Writer: Kristin Lukowski