Complete Streets Resolution passes Missouri House with one hour to spare!

Rep. Mike Sutherland of Warrenton
Rep. Mike Sutherland of Warrenton
HCR 67, the resolution in support of Complete Streets in Missouri, passed the Missouri House today--only one hour before the session ended.

Congratulations to Rep. Mike Sutherland of Warrenton, who has championed the Complete Streets concept in the Missouri General Assembly for several years, and the sponsor of HCR 67.

Sutherland is term limited out this year and the passage of HCR 67 on the last day of session--and the major changes that have come about as the result of bringing this legislation forward year after year--counts as one of his major legislative achievements.

The resolution is a comprehensive outline of the reasons for pursuing complete streets policies and urges all levels of government--from the city level up to the federal government--to use complete streets principles when designing their transportation systems.

The bill's page on the General Assembly web site is here.  Full text:

House Concurrent Resolution No. 67




      Whereas, bicycling and walking are essential to millions of Missourians as basic transportation and enjoyed by millions of Missourians as healthful recreation; and

            Whereas, encouraging and promoting a complete network of safe bicycle and pedestrian ways and routes is essential for those Missourians who rely on bicycling and walking for transportation; and

            Whereas, a safe and complete bicycle and pedestrian system is important for Missouri's economy and economic development; and

            Whereas, incorporating bicycle and pedestrian accommodations as a routine part of Missouri's road and street network is the most cost-effective way to make opportunities for safe walking and bicycling available to all Missourians and to enable those who bicycle and walk to reach all needed destinations; and

            Whereas, walking and bicycling improve the public health and reduce treatment costs for conditions associated with reduced physical activity, including obesity, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes; and

            Whereas, the United Health Foundation estimates direct medical costs associated with physical inactivity in Missouri at $1.9 billion in 2008, and projects an annual cost for Missouri of over $8 billion per year by 2018 if current trends continue; and

            Whereas, the annual per capita cost of obesity is $450 per Missourian, the highest per capita cost of any state in the United States; and

            Whereas, designing our communities, our neighborhoods, our commercial centers, and our employment centers to be safe and inviting for bicycling and walking is a proven and recommended solution for increasing citizens' physical activity levels, improving physical fitness, reducing obesity, improving overall health, and so reducing health care and economic costs related to obesity and poor physical fitness; and 

            Whereas, promoting bicycling and walking for transportation improves Missouri's environment, reduces congestion, reduces the need for expensive expansion of our road and highway systems, and reduces our dependence on foreign energy supplies; and

            Whereas, creating communities that invite and encourage bicycling and walking builds strong neighborhoods and encourages healthy, stable, safe, and livable communities; and

            Whereas, creating healthy, walkable, bicyclable, and livable communities helps keep Missouri competitive in the global competition for high quality businesses and motivated, creative workers who consider transportation and recreation options an essential part of a healthy community; and 

            Whereas, Missourians who reach retirement age choose more often to bicycle and walk for fitness, recreation, enjoyment, and transportation; and

            Whereas, citizens with disabilities often rely on bicycling, walking, and transit to meet basic transportation needs and to make connections with the transit system, face great obstacles within our current transportation system, and benefit greatly from complete and well-designed accommodations for bicycling and walking; and

             Whereas, all transit users depend on bicycling and walking for essential transportation, and young people who develop stamina and fitness through regular active transportation reap important benefits in their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development; and

             Whereas, the number of Missouri students who bicycle and walk to school has dropped dramatically over the past forty years, with 50% of students bicycling or walking in 1975 but only 15% in 2005. In the same period, the percentage of children clinically defined as overweight has increased from 8% to 25%; and

            Whereas, not only the health and physical fitness but also the mental health and overall independence and maturity of school-age children has suffered as a result of fewer children bicycling and walking regularly, and the conditions of our roads, streets, sidewalks, and intersections in failing to provide safe accommodations for bicycling and walking is in large part responsible for this change; and

            Whereas, a lack of physical activity plays a leading role in rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems among children, and being able to bicycle or walk to school offers an opportunity to build healthy activity into the daily routine; and

            Whereas, the Institute of Medicine reports that increasing opportunities for regular physical activity and supporting the efforts of families to incorporate physical activity into their lives are important strategies for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic; and

            Whereas, 20-25% of morning rush hour traffic is attributable to parents driving their children to school; and

            Whereas, over fifty Missouri organizations, agencies, schools, officials, and individuals have joined together to form the Missouri Safe Routes to School Network to encourage more children to safely bicycle and walk to school and to make streets, sidewalks, and communities safer and more inviting to children and families to bicycle and walk; and

            Whereas, the usual and customary users of Missouri's roads, highways, and bridges include pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as drivers and passengers of trucks, buses, and automobiles; and

            Whereas, the term "Complete Streets" means creating roads, streets, and communities where all road users can feel safe, secure, and welcome on our roads and streets and throughout our communities; and

            Whereas, the principles of Complete Streets are designed to create a transportation network that meets the needs of all users of the state's transportation system: pedestrians of all ages and abilities, bicyclists, disabled persons, public transportation vehicles and patrons, and those who travel in trucks, buses, and automobiles; and

            Whereas, the terms "livable streets" and "comprehensive street design" are also used to identify these same concepts; and

            Whereas, coordination and cooperation among many different agencies and municipalities is required to fully implement Complete Streets and create a complete, connected, and safe transportation network for bicycling and walking; and

            Whereas, Complete Streets' policies require transportation planners and engineers to engage with a wide range of communities and stakeholders, build projects that meet the needs of all users of our transportation system, and design roads and bridges that complement and complete our communities and the human environment; and

            Whereas, Complete Streets' policies enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods in rural, urban, and suburban areas; and

            Whereas, Complete Streets' policies develop safe, reliable, and economic transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, improve air quality, and promote public health; and

            Whereas, Complete Streets policies are those that:

            (1) Ensure that transportation projects provide for the needs of drivers, public transportation vehicles and patrons, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities in all planning, programming, design, construction, reconstruction, retrofit, operations, and maintenance activities and products;

             (2) Provide for safety and contiguous routes for all road users;

             (3) Ensure that bicycle ways and pedestrian ways, including sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, bicycle lanes, shoulders, shared use lanes, and all other facilities necessary for safe accommodation of bicycling and walking, shall be given full consideration in the planning, development, construction, and maintenance of transportation facilities;

            (4) Reaffirm that pedestrians, disabled persons, bicyclists, users of public transit, and other nonmotorized users of public roadways are among the customary users of public roads and highways, except where specifically prohibited by law or regulation;

             (5) Encourage the cooperation and coordination among agencies and municipalities to create safe, complete, integrated, and seamless system of routes for these users across borders and jurisdictions;

            (6) Support routine and appropriate accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians, disabled persons, and transit users on all transportation projects, as appropriate to the context, community, and project use, except:

             (a) Where bicycling and walking are not allowed;

            (b) Where sparsity of population or other factors indicate an absence of any need for such accommodations now or in the future;

             (c) Where the cost of establishing such accommodations would be excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use:

            Now, therefore, be it resolved that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-fifth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby declare our support for Complete Streets policies and urge their adoption at the local, metropolitan, regional, state, and national levels; and

             Be it further resolved that the General Assembly encourages and urges the United States Department of Transportation, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the governing bodies of metropolitan planning organizations and regional planning commissions, municipalities, and other organizations and agencies that build, control, maintain, or fund roads, highways, and bridges in Missouri to adopt Complete Streets' policies and to plan, design, build, and maintain their road and street system to provide complete, safe access to all road users; and

             Be it further resolved that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare properly inscribed copies of this resolution for Governor Jay Nixon; Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation; members of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission; Pete Rahn, Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation; the directors of each metropolitan planning agency and regional planning commission in the State of Missouri; and to the Missouri Municipal League.