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  • Alex Pline, a founding member of Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (BikeAAA) and co-chair of the Anne Arundel County Transportation Council, recently spoke to the Arnold Preservation Council about the Complete Streets Program and how it will affect Anne Arundel County.
    Photo by Shane Jacobus
    Alex Pline, a founding member of Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (BikeAAA) and co-chair of the Anne Arundel County Transportation Council, recently spoke to the Arnold Preservation Council about the Complete Streets Program and how it will affect Anne Arundel County.

Arnold Preservation Council Gets Street Smart

Shane Jacobus
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April 2, 2014

On March 10, the Arnold Preservation Council (APC) met at Asbury United Methodist Church to discuss how the Anne Arundel County Council’s Resolution 6-14, which encourages implementation of a Complete Streets Program, would affect local residents. The evening’s guest speaker was Alex Pline, a founding member of Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (BikeAAA) and co-chair of the Anne Arundel County Transportation Council, who informed the council about the program and how it fits with Anne Arundel County transportation issues.

“We seem to have this love affair with cars,” said Pline. “This was the first year I put more miles on my car than on my bike.”

To illustrate his point, Pline presented the council with a slideshow defining a complete street and highlighting the current layout of streets and roads in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

A complete street, he explained, is one that is “designed for everyone, whether young or old, on foot or bicycle, in a car or in a bus.” Currently, however, streets are too often designed only for speeding cars or creeping traffic jams.

To curb this trend and make streets safer and more accessible for everyone, hundreds of jurisdictions throughout the United States – states, cities, towns – have adopted a Complete Streets Policy. “Complete Streets is not about special projects,” Pline continued. “It’s about changing the way we approach transportation projects on all streets.”

Pline added that adopting a policy does not mean all streets and roads have to be changed all at once; changes can be made a little at a time and done along with routine maintenance. He also stated that Complete Streets is one important piece in ensuring that states are fiscally and physically healthy by making it easier for residents to walk or ride bicycles rather than drive when going on short trips.

“The Parole area is my classic example,” Pline illustrated. “Towne Center, the Annapolis mall, Harbour Center, Home Depot plaza are all within half a mile, easy walking distance, but everyone drives between them. In fact, it is impossible to walk to the Harbour Center from anywhere.”

As he continued with his presentation, Pline showed the council some slides with photos of the various types of Complete Streets – traffic circles, neighborhood greenways, cycle tracks, modern roundabouts and paved shoulders – and explained how they can help make travel easier.

Traffic circles reduce accidents and vehicular speeds but not necessarily traffic volume, benefitting residents on adjacent streets by avoiding traffic diversion and residents on treated streets by calming traffic.

Designing streets as neighborhood greenways reduces automobile speeds and cut-through traffic; greenways also provide safer, more attractive bicycling and walking links, and make residential streets safer and quieter.

Cycle tracks are on-street bicycle facilities separated from vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes and sidewalks by medians, bollards and markings.

Modern roundabouts channel intersection traffic in a circular pattern where incoming traffic yields to the flows of traffic within the roundabout.

Paved shoulders create space for those traveling by bike or foot on rural roads. They are also useful tools for motorists to pull over when needed.

To help make Complete Streets a reality locally, the Anne Arundel County Council has introduced Resolution 6-14 to encourage the county executive “to adopt a Complete Streets Program … to help ensure that future construction or improvements on County roadways are compatible with multiple modes of transportation.”

For more information about the National Complete Streets Coalition, visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets.


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