Did You Know?
NW Indiana Passes Regional Complete Streets Policy
Hoosier jokes can now officially be designated sour grapes. Not only does Northwest Indiana build more trails, advocate more strongly for a regional trail system, fund their bicycle projects more dependably, and has never had to return bike and ped money back to Uncle Sam. Now, Northwest Indiana communities have passed a regional Complete Streets policy. The municipalities that make up the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) voted unanimously for its adoption about two hours ago.
The regional context makes so…much…sense for what is essentially – I'm going to say it – a Chicago suburban region. In the suburban environment, connections between communities and regional assets like trails significantly reduce the benefits local Complete Streets policies and bike/ped plans provide to their towns. It's often those between-communities, between-trails connections that really influence residents' travel choice, their safety, where they choose to eat, go to school, buy groceries. Ideally, you want a town that passes Complete Streets to be surrounded by towns with Complete Streets policies. NIRPC's regional clout, outstanding coalition building and direct involvement in transportation decisions makes for superior policies and more benefits for individual communities.
Active Trans, Calumet Citizens Connecting Communities, National Park Service, INDOT, and NW Indiana public agencies and communities all contributed hours of commentary, meetings, beer drinking, and conference calling to craft NW Indiana's Complete Streets policy. I've attached the final drafts of the policy and guidelines (required by the municipalities before they'd sign on).
The Complete Streets policy goes into effect immediately. I'd call NIRPC and congratulate them, but I don't know if they use phones in Indiana, and I don't speak Hoosier anyway.
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