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Workshops to focus on Complete Streets

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will soon hold six workshops around the state to focus on Collaborative Approaches to Advance Complete Streets, Angela Welsh, director of the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization in Hertford, has announced.

Complete Streets are streets (and highways running through a town) designed to be safe and comfortable for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists and individuals of all ages and capabilities. They generally include sidewalks, bicycle facilities, transit stops, right-sized street widths, context-based traffic speeds, and are well integrated with surrounding land uses.

The workshops are intended to bring together a diverse group to share valuable information about the policy and how different stakeholders can help support its implementation.

These one-day regional workshops will:

  • Engage a diverse audience of State and local staff, community organizations and stakeholders, and decision-makers on the topic of Complete Streets
  • Establish relationships between these organizations to build support for Complete Streets projects
  • Equip participants with the tools and information they need to more effectively engage in transportation decision-making
  • The workshop nearest to Tyrrell County will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on June 11 in Edenton. To learn more and register, visit www.completestreetsnc.org

Why are Complete Streets important? Communities are seeing a growing need to make it easier and safer for all people to walk, bicycle, drive, or use public transportation. Interest in walking and bicycling is on the rise. Still, few facilities exist to offer safe routes for pedestrians, transit users, and cyclists.

In Columbia many members of the growing Hispanic community along North Road Street, as well as residents south of Scuppernong Drive, walk to and from Food Lion, Family Dollar, Dollar General and China King, all of which are on heavily traveled U.S. 64/Scuppernong Drive. Cyclists use the Scuppernong Drive sidewalks to reach business establishments in the town.

Pedestrian-, transit-, and bicycle-friendly streets not only provide transportation system redundancy and safety, but they offer critical economic and tourism benefits, and they better serve the needs of all citizens, including the growing population of people who do not or cannot drive or own a car.

The Complete Street philosophy encourages flexibility in design choices by designing streets that encourage non-vehicular travel and expanding the concepts of safety, efficiency and function to include all users as a street traverses an area.