COMPLETE STREETS: More than just a road
The focus on the motor vehicle has often been at the expense of other users of the transportation system. Recognizing that a street should be more than a way to move cars, the FBRMPO Board passed a Complete Streets Policy in February, 2013, that seeks to re-balance the needs of all users. There is evidence that investing in these other ways of getting around helps grow their share of the travel market, and the FBRMPO seeks to have a responsible mix of investment moving into an uncertain future. Making sure that transit users have safe means to get from the bus stop to their destination across the street is a missing piece. Adding wide shoulders to allow cars to safely pass bicycles, or adding a climbing lane for bicycles is another. In some places, it might mean adding sidewalks wide enough to accommodate “street life” like café tables, bike racks, and benches or street trees. Most of these are small investments compared to the cost of a highway and help the MPO create a balanced portfolio of transportation investments.
While there are many ways to get around in the region, our investment in highways over the last half-century created an auto-based infrastructure. Based on the 2006-2010 American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau, around 80% of our commuters drive alone, and another 12% carpool; that is 92% of our commuters in private motor vehicles get to work using the highway system. Preserving what we have in good, working order is the number one goal in the MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan. What this means has an interpretation that is changing over time from just fixing potholes to making sure that all users of the system can get where they want to go.
- Beyond the Bypass: Addressing Rural NC Most Important Transportation Needs Report (Southern Environmental Law Center, 2012)
- MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices):standard for signs, signals, and street markings
- Freight studies of importance to WNC
- See the list of programmed roadway projects in the current TIP (Transportation Improvement Program)