Complete Streets update

Complete Streets in history

First, some bad news from the federal level where the Complete Streets provision has been removed from the long-debated, much amended Transportation bill.

Other better news from the top: the National Complete Streets Coalition is incorporating as an official program of Smart Growth America which makes sense – streets, no matter how complete, are still best thought of in the larger context of land use, environment, economy and more.

But some good news at the local level.  Tracy Davis, former Planning Commission chair, member of the state Complete Streets external advisory committee, and all-round interesting person has given Northfield’s Complete Streets policy and related issues a little more publicity on the webpage for her new KYMN radio show Think Twice (program notes on Tracy’s blog).  She also links to MNDOT’s new multimodal 20 year plan just released for public comment.  The Northfield Complete Streets policy draft is considerably shorter (2 pages rather than MNDOT’s 102 pages), so please read it and send comments, criticism, and/or complements before the July 17 Council meeting when we’re scheduled to adopt the policy.

Not just liberal types believe in downtown

I get a bit peeved when people talk about downtown Northfield as if it is a museum which, while cute, is not really very important the economic vitality of the city.  I get beyond peeved when the same critics suggest that a pro-downtown position is somehow indicative of liberal, economically-ignorant, anti-development, anti-growth, rose-colored glasses thinking.  I’m pro-downtown because that’s where we can really grow the tax base and add jobs without adding to the costs associated with extending infrastructure AND create a place which is lively, walkable, and people want to be (and spend money).

First, let’s do the Simple Math and start adding more value per acre to all the land in Northfield, especially downtown.

Now, let’s add some support for this New Urbanist (smart growth, Strong Towns, sustainable development) view from the conservative American Enterprise Institute.