Gov. Shumlin signs Complete Streets Bill
May 18, 2011 - MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed into law legislation that ensures Vermont’s roads are safe for all users, requiring transportation policy to take into account the needs of motorists, bicyclists, public transportation users and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
“This law will guarantee that we’re designing roads that work for the future – for older Vermonters, for those who choose to take public transportation, for people who opt to walk to their jobs and errands, and for motorists,” the Governor said.
Among those on-hand for the bill signing were representatives for AARP Vermont and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Those organizations and other advocates supported the legislation and worked for its passage at the State House earlier this year.
The law amends current transportation statutes and covers state and municipal roads, with a few exemptions (dirt and gravel roads, for example). The policy would apply when new roads are being constructed and in the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of paved roads. It would not be a mandate to retrofit existing roads. Local and state transportation agencies would have to design to safely accommodate all users.
Examples of design changes to improve safety would include:
• Retiming crossing signals to allow for slower walking speeds
• Adding/maintaining sidewalks that are connected to services
• Installing curb ramps, sidewalk seating and bus shelters with seating
• Improving lighting, signage with larger fonts, and reflective signs and pavement markings
• Protecting left turn lanes with green arrows (this can cut left turn crashes in half).
Complete Streets legislation or policies have been passed in Hawaii, Connecticut and New Jersey. In Vermont, Montpelier and Burlington are already considering policies.