As community members, leaders, and advocates, we strongly support the City of Petaluma’s efforts to transform our streets into Complete Streets.
For decades, we have been building wide streets but thinking narrowly about them. We have built streets as a way of moving cars and trucks as rapidly as possible. But we have reached a crisis point where our streets are now unsafe, clogged with traffic, and expensive to maintain. They discourage active transportation and encourage driving, a leading contributor to our climate crisis.
Complete Streets refers to a well-established practice, adopted by over 1500 American cities and towns. The Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) provides significant federal funding and prioritizes projects that take a Complete Streets approach. By MTC’s definition, Complete Streets are “...safe and comfortable for everyone, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, race, sex, income, disability or chosen transportation mode.” Equally important, they maximize “...the use of the existing public right-of-way by prioritizing space-efficient forms of mobility (walking, cycling, shared mobility and public transit) over space intensive modes (single occupancy auto travel).”
Complete Streets give people more choices for getting around town-- whether they choose to travel by car or truck, on foot, on public transit, or on a bike, a scooter, or a wheelchair. They make it possible for Petaluma children to safely walk and roll to school. And streets that are safe for our kids are safe for everyone!
Our streets can be transformed to encourage greeting and gathering -- beautiful, quiet, lined with shade trees and landscaping where natural systems thrive, and precious rain runoff is captured and saved underground.
AND our drivers benefit. As more people use car alternatives, traffic congestion declines. Physically separating cars from cyclists and rollers reduces collisions and stress for everyone.
AND overall health improves when people combine fresh-air exercise with their everyday getting around. Their outdoor encounters with fellow Petalumans help cure isolation and loneliness.
AND we boost affordable housing. And social equity. And economic vitality. A city-wide network of Complete Streets, by reducing the need for parking, reduces the cost of new housing. Bikes and their kin are far less expensive for families to buy and operate, expanding access to jobs, shopping, and services for lower-income households.
AND we protect our climate. Burning gasoline accounts for almost ⅔ of Petaluma’s climate pollution. We need Complete Streets to achieve the City’s 2030 climate goal… for our kids.
We therefore call upon the City of Petaluma to give highest priority to accelerating the redesign and retrofit of our streets as Complete Streets. This will require the following commitments:
Set Bold Goals: Promptly complete the Active Transportation Plan, incorporating ambitious and specific goals for network build-out over the next 3-7 years. The Plan must detail how the City will build a fully resourced Complete Streets Design program, with adequate staffing and funding for full realization of the Plan.
Create the Capacity for Success: Promptly adopt an updated, comprehensive Complete Streets Ordinance. Adopt Street Design Standards and project management methods to roll out a consistent program of Complete Streets. Ensure that City Staff has the capacity to achieve the goals in the Active Transportation Plan. Partner with Petaluma Complete Streets supporters to strengthen and streamline public engagement, prioritizing efficacy, equity, and inclusion.
I am happy to add my name (and my organization’s name, if applicable) in support of Complete Streets for Petaluma.
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[note: a current list of signers, including logos, is here]