Creating Complete Streets in Chester County - Chester County Planning Commission
When we envision our streets, we typically think about the automobile. However, there are other important modes of transportation that should be prioritized as well – such as walking, biking, or moving with assistive devices.
Through Smart Growth America’s “Complete Streets” approach, communities can ensure that their streets prioritize safety over speed, balance the needs of different modes of transportation, and support local land uses, economies, cultures, and natural environments.
The Chester County Planning Commission recently held a public meeting to discuss a Complete Streets Policy for Chester County, which welcomed more than 35 representatives from local municipalities, transportation organizations, stakeholder groups, and others from around the region. Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell also attended the meeting, noting the importance of Complete Streets in their opening remarks.
“The simple addition of sidewalks in communities where no sidewalks exist will expand access to transportation networks for people without cars,” said Commissioner Moskowitz. “Providing for active transportation facilities – such as sidewalks and bike lanes – will increase opportunities for physically active travel, and create healthier communities here in Chester County.”
“A complete streets policy for Chester County will help to advance the Live, Prosper, and Connect goals of Landscapes3, by encouraging better access to community facilities and services to create more efficient transportation systems to service our thriving and growing communities,” Commissioner Maxwell added. “We know connectivity is going to be so important to the future economic health of our county, and we couldn’t be more proud that the Planning Commission is making this such an important goal of all our municipalities to achieve.”
The Planning Commission’s Transportation Planner, Eric Quinn, followed with an overview of Chester County’s proposed Complete Streets Policy, as well as its overall funding and schedule. He also explained that the guiding principles behind the policy include Landscapes3, the county’s Comprehensive Plan, as well as Smart Growth America’s Ten Elements of a Complete Streets Policy.
Additionally, Quinn discussed the draft policy’s vision and goals, which emphasize that Chester County’s roadways will meet the needs of all users – and provide for all appropriate modes of transportation with an emphasis on safety, equity, and environmental responsibility.
“Every citizen has a right to travel within the restraints of the existing road structure, which is why Chester County hopes to implement Complete Streets throughout our new and existing road structures,” Quinn noted.
The Planning Commission’s Director of Environment and Infrastructure, Brian Styche, highlighted the applicability of a Complete Streets Policy, including the process for implementing and maintaining Complete Streets within a community, exceptions, design standards, performance measures, and next steps – as well as promotion of the policy once it’s adopted.
To learn more about Complete Streets in Chester County, please visit https://www.chescoplanning.org/transportation/OtherPlans.cfm.