This post is republished from the Coalition for Transportation Choices (CTC). The CTC calls for a 21st century transportation system that enhances our economy and provides all Rhode Islanders with healthy transportation choices. Grow Smart RI is a member of the Coalition.
At its regular public forum in June, Rhode Island Women in Transportation discussed how a city in Ohio is using Context Sensitive Solutions design principles to build Complete Streets that encourage and allow for safe use by pedestrians, cyclists, businesses as well as cars.
CTC is a proponent of Complete Streets (you can read about some of our work here and here). So far, eight Rhode Island cities and towns have passed Complete Streets resolutions, and an equal number are considering resolutions. We supported legislation that passed the General Assembly in 2012, which requires the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RI DOT) to report annually on progress in implementing Complete Street design. The CTC will be monitoring the implementation of the new Complete Streets law, as well as, watching for the annual reports from RI DOT.
Context sensitive solutions (CSS) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders in providing a transportation facility that fits its setting. It is an approach that leads to preserving and enhancing scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and environmental resources, while improving or maintaining safety, mobility, and infrastructure conditions.
For instance, if a state highway that passes through a downtown main street, applying CSS principles would entail creating a street where the movement of vehicles does not impede pedestrian activity and sidewalk commerce, rather than a street that is simply widened and straightened to increase speed, capacity and mobility for vehicles as a singular transportation objective.
Speakers at the June forum included Barbara Breslin from the local office of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),
Luisa Paiewonsky of Mass DOT, and Bob Smith of RI DOT.
Those in attendance heard representatives from Cleveland describe a project in that city – the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project – that is utilizing Context Sensitive Solutions to create Complete Streets that link a university medical center with downtown and a recreation sector, while creating two bus lanes and two auto lanes for more than 9 miles with ample landscaping and public art.
Want to find out more about CSS?
You can watch a Web Cast of workshops on Complete Streets and Context Sensitive Design from the Illinois Department of Transportation on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 1:00 to 5:00 EDT.
This will be the first in a series of CSS National Dialog 2 Workshops will include an up-to-date overview of Context Sensitive Solutions plus presentations on exemplary CSS projects, plans and programs from the surrounding region. The case studies were drawn from submissions received from across the country, and were selected as examples of effective application of CSS principles to regional transportation projects, plans and programs.