Complete Streets Presentation, Workshop Set

Improving how everybody travels throughout the city will be the focus of a complete streets presentation and workshop starting Monday.

City of Jamestown officials will be hosting a Complete Streets Policy Implementation presentation on Monday from 7-8 p.m. in the Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center, located at 119 W. Third St. National experts John LaPlante and Kristin Bennett from the National Complete Streets Coalition will lead the presentation to help determine how the city of Jamestown can better balance transportation projects to ensure streets are safe and inviting for everyone using the right of way. The presentation is sponsored by the state Department of Transportation and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and is the first in the state. The presentation is open to the public.

On Tuesday, a Complete Streets Policy Implementation Workshop has been scheduled for invited guests from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Center. Complete streets are road systems that provide safe, convenient access for all users including motorists, bicyclists, public transportation operators and users, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Complete streets are achieved by changing project development processes to routinely plan for, design, build and maintain the necessary infrastructure to ensure streets are safe and convenient for walking, bicycling and public transportation use.

The Jamestown complete streets workshop will also be the first one held in the state, said Laura Bernsohn, city planning and research specialist. She said other workshops have been scheduled for Long Island and Rochester. LaPlante and Bennett will also lead the interactive workshop to draw from local experts’ experiences.

“We’re inviting people of every facet,” Bernsohn said. “There will be policy makers, politicians, the Jamestown schools, the (Chautauqua County) Health Network, county officials, our (Public Works Department), the city’s Planning Commission, county CARTS officials and (Jamestown Renaissance Corporation). A gamut of all sorts of local officials.”

Workshop goals include reviewing the current complete streets policies and processes guiding decision making; identifying perceived and real barriers to complete streets; and discussing complete streets policy elements; and policy implementations steps.

“This workshop is about policy implementation as opposed to specific design,” Bernsohn said. “It is going to be more about how the city should implement complete street policy to make it stronger.”

Bernsohn said a complete streets policy is important to implement in order to make the streets easier for all who travel.

“Basically to make it safe and convenient for all users,” she said. “That includes vehicles, bicyclist, people walking, encompasses people with disabilities, people with strollers. It accommodates all individuals.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Complete Streets Act on Aug. 15, 2011, requiring state, county and local agencies to consider the convenience and mobility of all users when developing transportation projects that receive state and federal funding. The New York State Department of Transportation is working to ensure that its policies and procedures meet the new standards. The initiative presents an opportunity to expand upon existing programs and collaborate with bicyclists, pedestrians, people with disabilities and others to identify best practices and designs for transportation facilities. The city approved its own complete streets policy in 2012.