The Baltimore City Council on Monday gave preliminary approval to “complete streets” legislation aimed at improving safety and accessibility on roadways for pedestrians and cyclists.
According to The Baltimore Sun:
In a city where one in three households lacks access to a car, the legislation states that the Baltimore City Department of Transportation must “to the greatest extent possible, promote walking, biking, and public transit” and “ensure equity by actively pursuing the elimination of health, economic, and access disparities.”
The legislation would create a “Complete Streets Coordinating Council” to oversee the bill’s mandates. It also requires the city to track whether officials are adequately addressing the transportation needs of Baltimoreans of all races and income levels.
The bill still needs final approval before being sent to the desk of Mayor Catherine Pugh.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, The General Assembly earlier this year approved legislation to create a competitive grant program making Transportation Trust Fund dollars available to local governments for the planning and design of Complete Streets projects.
Local governments own and maintain 83 percent of the roads in the State of Maryland, making them the best catalyst for incorporating Complete Streets principles into Maryland’s transportation network. However, with the decimation of highway user revenues resulting in over $3 billion diverted from local roads funding, counties struggle to accomplish meaningful preventive maintenance on their roads, much less dedicate resources to redesigning streets with all users in mind.
Given this reality, it will take a significant dedication of funding to local roads to transform our state’s transportation network into one which prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and transit passengers as highly as it prioritizes cars. MACo supported the bill because it provides a step in the right direction toward that end.