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The Saturday St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in recognition of the founding of St. Louis 250 years ago, featured a humorous Mound City cartoon by Dan Martin, who also draws the daily Weatherbird.

Dan Martin was subsequently kind enough to send me a color version of the cartoon appearing in the newspaper.

What caught my eye was item #5 in the “To Do” list. The modern bicycle didn’t exist at the time but trust the French to be technically very advanced (except, perhaps, on the subject of bike lanes!).

Postcard for the web



           

Karen Karabell shsm

Karen Karabell


And while on the subject of bike lanes, go to an in-depth guest post by Karen Karabell called Taking the lane — a CyclingSavvy instructor explains her objection to bike lanes.

It was just posted on Ted Rogers’ blog BikinginLA






         
Below are prepared comments received from those who testified at the county council meeting on January 21, 2014, as well as transcripts I’ve made from video posted later on-line by TheGatewaytvnetwork.

County council members subsequently approved Substitute Bill #2 for Bill #238 (aka “Complete Streets”) by 6 votes to 0, with Chairwoman Hazel Erby abstaining.

Once again, I spoke against this Complete Streets bill. I’ve been doing so since first reading about it in the Sunday St. Louis Post-Dispatch story on 2013-11-24 titled St. Louis County is poised to approve measure for bike- and pedestrian-friendly roads. But fortunately I’ve not been alone, having been joined by others who also concluded this bill was a bad idea, promoting actions which the highway department already takes, in many cases, or other goals which are undesirable and self-serving.

This is a long blog, reproducing practically everything relevant that was said that evening, but I feel it’s worth recording for future reference. I’ve also inserted my comments into other’s testimony, prefaced by my initials, MP , when I felt it worthwhile.

Written testimony provided by speakers is highlighted in blue. Testimony I have painstakingly transcribed, in part or in full from on-line video, is in white.

All told fourteen speakers testified, 10 against and 4 in favor, in the following order:

Alan Leaderbrand

Alan Leaderbrand

CON: Alan Leaderbrand, Lemay. 04:47 – 06:38 (minutes in the on-line recording)

“Good evening. My name is Alan Leaderbrand and I live in Lemay, and I’m here to ask you to vote down the Complete Streets. I’ve got the new revised bill that you’re putting forth but still I don’t see where the additional costs of doing Complete Streets are put forth. I don’t know what the additional miles of road for the county to maintain. The costs are going to go up, which means the H&T Dept. won’t be able to repair the same amount of miles of roads each year.”
         Referring to the Post-Dispatch: “The City of Clayton, which has already instituted Complete Streets, is now proposing to put forth on the ballot an increase in their property taxes because they don’t have enough funding for their streets. That’s what I’m concerned about, if you do this Complete Street, in a year or two you’re going to come back for a tax increase because we don’t have enough money to take care of our roads anymore because you’ve upped the cost tremendously to institute a program to take care of adding bike lanes for a small, you know, 1% or 2% of the population that rides their bikes. I don’t see a lot of bike people riding their bikes right now, in the wintertime. So I don’t see it as a justification for the additional expense.
         So I ask you to please, vote no, and kill this measure. Thank you.”

Ronald Dubson

Ronald Dubson

PRO: Ronald Dubson, Crestwood. 12:24 – 14:51

“My name is Ronald Dubson. I’m representing Metropolitan Congregations United.
I live at 26 Jo Ann Pl., in Crestwood, MO (63126) in the county, it’s about 2 blocks from Big Bend and Sappington Rd. I’ve lived there for the past 7 years.
         For the past 3 years I have ridden my bicycle to get to work from my home to the Sunnen Metrolink station, and I take the MetroLink train to North Hanley, and from there I catch the No. 34 Express Bus to my place of work on Riverport Dr. at Magellan Health Services. Now, my bike ride takes me down Big Bend from Sappington Rd. to Webster University, and some of that road is two lanes and some of it is 4 lanes.
         I want to speak in favor of Substitute Bill #2 for BILL NO. 238 introduced by Council member Pat Dolan. When I told my primary care provider, Dr. Michael Bavlsik, that I was riding my bike to get to work he told me that riding a bike is a great form of exercise, but it’s extremely dangerous to ride a bicycle in commuter traffic. And then he told me about someone he knew who was killed on a bicycle while making a left turn at an intersection.
         I did not take my doctor’s advice, but I do try to avoid making left turns.

MP: In general, avoiding left turns is neither desirable nor necessary. Moving left is required if you wish to turn left or continue straight and your lane becomes a right-turn-only lane, for example. It can be done safely, but acquiring the relevant knowledge and skills is desirable, just as it is for a motorist. Lane control and left-turns are demonstrated in a video I shot while bicycling with Gerry Nolls, owner of The Ferguson Bicycle Shop, and posted previously at BICYCLING Made SIMPLE. This video also demonstrates that the current road system, despite being dominated by automobiles, CAN work well for cyclists too. Ensuring equality of access, as in Ferguson, and safe cycling knowledge are key.

         In my opinion, adding bicycle lanes to certain parts of the county is neither feasible nor possible. However, whenever it’s possible, I think it should be done, because the developers who created our current system of roads in the county assumed that eventually everyone, to get from point A to point B, would be driving a car. I think that was a very shortsighted decision, and I don’t think it’s fair to the people who want alternatives to automobiles. Thank you.”

John Peters

John Peters

CON: John Peters, Chesterfield. 15:21 – 18:04
38 Meadowbrook Country Club Estates, Chesterfield, MO 63017

“Good evening. I am concerned about the passage of a Complete Streets policy in St. Louis given:
         1) The numerous bridges that are reported to need repair or replacement in a significant fashion;
         That the county police are taking on the task of policing more and more area of the St. Louis County.
         I’m concerned that more land will be needed for the increased acreage for the street infrastructure, primarily by additional cost buying additional land for enhanced streets.
         And if not buying the land from the property owner, that the land could end up being taken under an eminent domain policy.
         And that an enhanced street infrastructure will undoubtedly be used by a sigificantly smaller percent of the population, I feel, of the non-automobile vehicular public.
         This is after the county has spent millions upon millions of dollars to enhance streets, and to widen streets to reduce or eliminate bottlenecks.
         So, in closing, I’m concerned that the dollars spent will be exorbitant and (not justified by) the ultimate use of the enhanced infrastructure, as in Austin, Texas, that went to the Complete Streets policy. I understand that their costs have come to $205,000 per block.
         We see so many things in the paper about needing to increase and enhance our police department. And again, roads and bridges. I don’t think we want to take on the task of guessing to see if we’ll have enough money for Complete Streets also.
         Thank you.”

Nick Kasoff

Nick Kasoff

CON: Nick Kasoff, Ferguson. 18:12 – 21:22

The Complete Streets bill is supposed to make our streets more usable by pedestrians and transit users. After recent storms, pedestrians on Airport Road had to walk in traffic lanes, because even on major arterials, the county does not plow sidewalks. And bus riders stood in the street waiting for the bus, as cars skidded by, because the county plows a wall of snow onto the sidewalk.
         If you really cared about making our streets better for pedestrians and transit users, that would be a good place to start. Instead, this bill sends highway staff to Complete Streets professional development and workshops. How can you justify putting up county staff at the Ritz Carlton while leaving bus riders standing in the street?
         I also reviewed county ordinance 1105, and there’s no statutory training requirement for any other subject. In the 200 years since this county’s founding, no ordinance has demanded that highway department personnel attend particular symposiums and meetings. Yet you would tell us that Complete Streets is of such vital importance to our county that planners and engineers must be required to routinely attend workshops as a matter of legal requirement?
         And, you still have the Peer Advisory Committee. The county will pay them to provide advice to the highway department, and to gather data on road usage. Meanwhile, bus riders will still be waiting out in the street. The disabled will still be driving their scooters in traffic lanes. But Trailnet will be getting paid.
         Finally, a quick word about the character of those pushing this bill. Last week, Rhonda Smythe told two baldfaced lies in her testimony. First, in answer to accusations that Trailnet hoped to secure taxpayer dollars through Complete Streets, she said, “We raise every dime that we bring in the door.” In fact, according to their most recent IRS filing, they received more than $430,000 in government grants, more than 1/3 of their total contributions. Second, she cited MoDOT’s “Missouri on the Move” survey as showing support for bike lanes and buses over smooth roads. She forgot to mention that MoDOT specifically states that this was NOT intended to be a statistically significant survey. She also forgot to mention that they took surveys at Great Rivers Greenway, and at the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park. And amazingly, the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation has already listed passage of this ordinance as an accomplished fact on their website.
         This is a bad bill, being pushed by people who have repeatedly lied to the council. I urge you to do the right thing, by voting no.

Susan Herzberg addressing county council M138 300

Susan Herzberg addressing St. Louis County Council

CON: Susan Herzberg, St. Louis. 21:35 – 24:00

“Hello. I’ve heard that you’ve all heard many of us a couple of times over the past weeks in the course of discussion of this bill, Complete Streets, and I wanted to come here in person because I feel so strongly about this.
         I am a daily bike commuter — yes, even in winter. And sometimes I call myself a “bike evangelist,” but I’m not here as part of any special interest group. I’m here as a concerned citizen.
         I was hit by a car in the bike lane on Manchester, the newly-painted bike lane, and I could have been killed. Luckily it was winter and I had on a lot of clothing, which means a lot of padding, so I was alright. I knocked off the mirror on the side of the car, which upset the driver. It was a terrible situation but luckily I’m all right. I was only bruised and cut a little.
         A motorist was turning right and ran right into me. I could have been killed.
         I’m here to tell you that I wasn’t really sure but I know now: bike lanes create a dangerous situation. Previously on Manchester Road there were two traffic lanes (in each direction, four altogether) and I rode safely in the second (outside or curb traffic lane) on Manchester for 2-1/2 years without incident whatsoever. And then, once the bike lane was put in it created a dangerous situation.
         So, cars don’t know that you’re there. They don’t know how to deal with a bike lane and the person turned right in front of me and right into me.
         The person turned right in front of me and right into me, and it caused a collision.
         So, I’m here because I believe people’s lives are at stake. I believe these bike lanes are not going to help anyone.
         I know everyone up here is a conscientious person. I know you are all well-intentioned and conscientious people. If not, you certainly would not be in county government.
         So, I’m asking you, please: Just take some time and consider, what is safest for the cyclists? Who will be liable when someone is killed in a bike lane?  Those who design and implement a dangerous condition?  Why do this? The cyclists don’t need this. We don’t want it. It’s just to give an illusion that this is a better and safer place to be. But it’s really not.The safest place for cyclists is in with the flow of traffic. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to listen to me today.”

Stephen Baker

Stephen Baker

CON: Stephen Baker, Wildwood. 24:13 – 25:13
315 Timber Meadow Dr., Wildwood, 63011  

“Once again, I’m here to speak against the Complete Streets proposal. This bill is a ploy for special interest groups to get money to get their voice in front of this council. There’s no reason for special interests to be listed in the bill to say money has to be spent in their direction.
         This bill is no longer a blatant land grab: it’s a more subtle land grab. But it still needs a lot more rework. This bill is not good for the interests of the community and I think you should vote it down.”

Jennifer Bird

Jennifer Bird: “Just because someone says they have facts doesn’t make it so, but I do have the paperwork”

CON: Jennifer Bird, Crestwood, 63126 26:58 – 30:27

“Thank you for taking my comments. I would first like to thank Mrs. Erby for taking your name off the Complete Streets legislation. I would also like to thank the council, mildly, for revisiting and removing some of the things. One of the things I’m very happy to see removed is that privately constructed streets and parking lots shall adhere to this policy. I think that Mrs. Erby is probably the most reasonable person on the council so I wanted to express my appreciation for that.
         I also want to correct the lies that came from Rhonda Smythe last week, who is a representative of Trailnet. She indicated that Trailnet was completely privately funded. That’s false. I have the 990 here. The most recent I have is from 2011. I’ll go over a few numbers briefly.
         I’ll start with Ann Mack’s salary. Executive Director, reportable compensation $93,795, and then for other compensation is $6,216. That’s a lot of money but we’ll ponder that later.
I’m going to go on to government grants (contributions), which are public dollars: $433,203.
         Just because someone says they have facts doesn’t make it so, but I do have the paperwork. I’ll be happy to leave it with you if you wish.
Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 2.28.41 PM (2)
         An organization that normally receives a substantial part of its funds from a governmental unit or from the general public. So substantial public funds are what they receive. [check ~29:30]
         If you do the math it shows they are 90% publicly funded.
         And lastly, GRG contributed $57,650 to them. They’re the people that got the Prop P tax money last year: that’s $31 million out of the area that’s not being spent by people because it’s a tax.
         With Clayton new taxes. Lindbergh looking for new taxes. Clayton just instituted Complete Streets. Having to put for new taxes on the board, I think yo should vote no on Complete Streets … and I hope you will. Thank you.”

Hon. Teresa Douglas

Hon. Teresa Douglas


CON: The Honorable Teresa Douglas, Committeewoman in the Lemay Township. 30:44 – 34.14
8208 Weimar Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63123.

“Hello. My name’s Teresa Douglas, I’m a Committeewoman in the Lemay Township, Mr. Stenger’s district. I’m asking you to stop this Complete Streets program today. There are so many things that have not been disclosed to the public. For example, you mention in there that you’re going to allow for facilities management: what facilities are going to be built with this Complete Streets program?
         You mention that a study will be done, yet everything that I read in here keeps saying we will comply with Complete Streets and it’s going to happen with or without the study. It says that the only time that we’re going to NOT abide by that is if it’s for routine maintenance or ITS mass transit. So we’re going to do it whether the study says it’s going to be expensive or not, or not feasible.
         It talks about building mass transit stops. How much is just that going to cost? Has there been any cost analysis of this?
         The facilities: I’m wondering is that anything like the Oakville Living Center that has to comply with the St. Louis County strategic plan?
         Has any one spoken with the truckers? Has anyone spoken with the Teamster’s Union because they’re under a mandate to increase the length of their trucks? As it is, they can’t get around all these roundabouts. They have to drive over the curbs. They’re knocking down street signs. I’m hearing from truckers that they can’t even get in to make their deliveries.          You’ve narrowed the street down to put in bike lanes. How are you going to tell people that their grocery store is closing down because they can’t get merchandise?
         I have a report from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA that this is going to create congestion. They’re saying that’s OK because that’s going to be good for the bicyclists. Is congestion good for the community? Is a business going to want to build in St. Louis in a more congested environment?
         Berkeley University out in California is working to defeat this because of the congestion problems this has created.”

Rhonda Smythe, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Trailnet

Rhonda Smythe: “So, even the, (quote) bike people are supportive of Complete Streets”

PRO: Rhonda Smythe.
411 N. 10th St., Ste. 202, Policy and Advocacy Manager, representing Trailnet 0:34:26 – 0:36:41

“Good evening. If non-profits competing for grants makes us for-profits, then I guess all non-profits are actually for-profits. Trailnet competes for grants available to non-profits. Some of the opposition also competes for and receives these same taxpayer dollars that are available through grants.
         Last week I provided information on the USDOT and FHWA policies for the inclusion of walking and biking infrastructure into transportation projects. I also provided information from the AARP and the National Association of Realtors supporting Complete Streets, as well as the most recent MoDOT survey for the St. Louis region that shows strong support for public transit and safe spaces for bikes, and I’ll give you that information after I’m done.
         Throughout the policy process you have heard or received supporter testimony from Paraquad, WashU., SLU, the Municipal League, Great Rivers Greenway, Metro St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council, the American Heart Association, labor officials, local elected officials, statewide elected officials, transportation professionals, and activated residents. You’ve heard testimony from a St. Louis City elected official that Complete Streets did not increase the City’s transportation budget. You heard testimony from an engineer who has implemented Complete Streets. You’ve heard from municipal leaders who want the ability to implement their community’s Master Plans. You’ve heard testimony from numerous residents about the need for safe places to walk and bike.
                  Last week, Missouri statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian advocacy organization ran a survey asking the question:
         “Do you support the adoption of the Complete Streets policy in your community?”
         They got 515 responses statewide. Of those, 94% were supportive of having a Complete Streets policy in their community, with 3% neutral and 3% opposing.
         In the St. Louis metro area there were 256 responses with a 92% rate of support.
         So, even the, (quote) bike people are supportive of Complete Streets policies overall with 5 (percent) neutral and 3 (percent) opposing.
         This policy lays out a vision for Complete Streets in St. Louis County. It sets a path for the region we could become. Implementation is in the hands of county departments. And, once again, I appreciate your time on this issue. I ask that you please vote yes on Complete Streets.”

MP: I don’t find it surprising that Trailnet can demonstrate widespread support for something as seemingly desirable as “Complete Streets.” As I noted in previous testimony I gave, intended to be ironic, who wants “Incomplete Streets”?
It also doesn’t surprise me that this would have the overwhelming support of the “bike people” surveyed by the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, of which I was formerly a member. The overwhelming majority of cyclists and non-cyclists have had no soundly-based bike education. Without that knowledge, bike facilities in the form of bike lanes would seem an attractive way to accommodate bicyclists on public roads.

CON: Karen Karabell, St. Louis.
(CyclingSavvy Instructor) 36:52 – 39:57

Karen Karen turning to the media to make a point M300 221 (L 510 376)

Karen Karabell, turning to the media during opening remarks


         
I am opening my three minutes with a challenge to the media.
         I hope that one of you will follow the money on this issue. There is very little money in cycling education. However, a lucrative new industry has developed around advising municipalities on how to create and install on-road facilities for bicyclists.
         I am thrilled when facilities support safe cycling on our public roadways. I want people to choose bicycling! But what we are seeing in St. Louis in the name of “Complete Streets” are facilities that make riding more dangerous.
Vehicles-Victims Splat!

Vehicles-Victims Splat!

         The Bicycle Industrial Complex knows this. They know that “separate” on-road infrastructure is not truly separate, and sooner or later leads to this:
(Holding up “Splat!” graphic.)
         Still, for reasons I don’t have time to go into here, the Bicycle Industrial Complex continues to recommend the painting and installation of fancy stuff on our public roadways that actually makes transportation harder for both cyclists and motorists.
         I wish that one of you would give us the real story.
         Council Members and County Executive Dooley, I want to thank you for your time over these last couple of months. My guess is that you want nothing more than for this issue to go away.
         If you vote no, I promise that you will be vilified on a national level, as David Wrone was last August. I could write the headline for Streetsblog myself:
“What is wrong with those stupid Midwesterners?”
         There is nothing wrong with us. We, who are not blinded by ideological fervor or by our pocketbooks, have no trouble cutting to the chase. Infrastructure that creates conflict on our roads between cyclists and motorists is unethical. It is dangerous. It should be removed, before another person is injured or killed.
Karen Karabell finishing her testimony.

Karen Karabell finishing her testimony.

         This is a conversation that can no longer be entrusted to the paid professionals of the Bicycle Industrial Complex. This remaking of our public roadways to accommodate bicyclists is a very serious matter, and deserves thoughtful public discussion. I am deeply grateful to the Council for allowing this discussion to be held.

Eli Karabell

Eli Karabell

CON: Eli Karabell, St. Louis.
40:06 – 43:09

“Good evening council members. Good evening County Executive Dooley. I want to stand up here as a simple American. In my humble opinion I believe that this Complete Streets bill will lead to people getting hurt. But not only that, it will be a disaster for the region.
         A perfect example of this is, um, I’m a bicyclist and I ride on a street called Jefferson Avenue, a major north-south street. On this street there’s a bike lane, and this bike lane is one of the most dangerous pieces of anything I’ve ever seen in my life. I will not ride in it because if I do ride in it I’m putting my life at risk. And if there was not a bike lane there I would feel much, much safer.
         Now let me also say, quoting Frederick Douglas, that I will unite that anyone that will do right; I will anybody to do wrong. And to keep to Frederick Douglas’s legacy and the great legacy of the civil rights leaders, like the late Dr. King, I believe that we need to defeat this bill.
         I believe if this were to go to a referendum it would fail by 70%
         I beg you to please vote this thing down, not only because I feel like it’s a bad bill but, like what happened to Mrs. Hertzberg, I think it would hurt people.”

Martin Pion

Martin Pion

CON: Martin Pion, Ferguson
43:22 – 46:30/46:50

Madame Chairman, Council members, and County Executive: first, I’m sorry for my weekly appearances. However, I’m convinced it’s been necessary to oppose Complete Streets.
         The Complete Streets Coalition is a wonderfully self-serving organization that has adopted a brilliant name to replace the original term: “reasonable accommodation”, as I pointed out a few weeks ago. But what does it really accomplish?
         You’ll recall its guiding principles are to accommodate everyone, regardless of age or ability, in a multimodal transportation system. Let’s examine that goal.
         It won’t impact the bus system or MetroLink. Those require funding, especially MetroLink, which has been rebuffed by residents of St. Charles County, regrettably.
         It won’t change the situation for Paraquad, which already is served by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act that requires curb cuts and other accommodations for the disabled.
         I’d like to see more planning for pedestrians, such as wider sidewalks, and safer ways to cross major intersections. My experience in England proves that more can be done and I’d welcome County Highways & Traffic be more open to somewhat novel ideas, but funding will again be partly an issue.
         However, there’s tension between the different modes: with a given amount of right-of-way, widening sidewalks comes at the expense of others in the corridor, i.e. motorists and/or cyclists.
         And that brings me to the most contentious issue: what kind of infrastructure best allows motorists and cyclists to coexist safely while preserving efficiency?
         I believe Exhibit A is Manchester Ave.-MO Route 100, recently restriped according to Complete Streets principles. Great Rivers Greenway advocated for bike lanes. Where they couldn’t be accommodated, a single mile long westbound lane with sharrows down its middle has been striped. And to accomplish that required removing one regular travel lane. That has led to the following problems:
         For cyclists: Door zone bike lanes and curbside bike lanes, either of which can lead to cyclist fatalities or serious injuries. The latter nearly did so in the case of cyclist Susan Herzberg last December 16.
Gutter bike lanes are also magnets for debris and often are uneven, with parallel joints near the curb. Those joints can grab a bike wheel and cause a crash, which happened to me several years ago .
         For motorists: Frustration at being delayed, due to fewer travel lanes and to a lone cyclist in a lane with no legal passing permitted – for one mile!
         And all to further the ambitions of Trailnet and Great Rivers Greenway?
Please: kill this bill.

Charles Wilbur

Charles Wilbur

PRO: Charles Wilbur.
47:02 – 49:57

“Good evening all. My name is Charles Wilbur. I live down in Councilmember Stenger’s district, I believe, off of Weber Rd. (sic). I was here in the middle of December listening to testimony and I testified then and there was a whole lot of feelings and anecdotes, and I’ve seen this happen and I’ve seen that happen going around the room. And I left feeling like, as someone with a background in science, I was not really satisfied with that, so I went looking for some data. And the only data I could find I found off of a blog called “Taking the lane” where they linked to a study on the bike lanes that were added on 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue in NYC.

MP: Charles Wilbur makes a really surprising statement about the paucity of good information on-line. For example, John Forester, often credited with being the father of vehicular cycling, has an extensive web presence on the subject at http://www.johnforester.com/articles.htm. John S. Allen is another valuable on-line resource at http://www.bikexprt.com/index.htm. I conclude that Wilbur was just looking for material to back up his own view of the subject. But finding such material doesn’t end the debate.

         And NYC, being NYC, was very thorough in how they documented the safety, the effect on retail, and all the other effects of putting those bike lanes in on those two avenues. So the blog post was rather literate so if you’ll indulge me I’ll quote it a little bit.

MP: Wilbur then quoted from ” Breaking: Bike infrastructure debate officially over,” posted May 7, 2013, by Elly Blue in Commentary, omitting some verbiage for brevity, as indicated by blue italicized text below. The full text is on-line at

http://takingthelane.com/2013/05/07/breaking-bike-infrastructure-debate-officially-over/%5D

         In 2007 NYC added protected bike lanes known as “cycle tracks” to two previously car-centric one way arterials in Manhattan, on 8th and 9th Avenues.
These lanes – basically, regular bike lanes with a physical barrier (often parked cars) and special signals at intersections in order to separate people on bikes from people driving and walking – were controversial before and after construction, with lots of dithering and yammering about how they would hurt business and freight, cause crashes, hold up traffic, and waste time and money.
         The city’s transportation department released a study in October, 2012. The bike infrastructure did more than make cycling safer: The study found a 35% decrease in traffic crash related injuries to all street users on 8th Ave (path), and a whopping 58% decrease on 9th Ave. That’s a 58% decrease in crashes as a whole. Not just pedestrian crashes. Not just bike crashes. All traffic crashes dropped by 58% on 9th Ave.

MP: I believe the 58% figure was for ALL crashes, but if correct, it’s a significant reduction and one must ask how it was achieved.
Intersections are typically high risk locations for bicyclists and motorists because of turning movements. John Allen describes it as a Cadillac example of such a treatment. In addition, John Allen, who rode and videotaped it in 2012, has provided helpful feedback which I’ve now had an opportunity to review.
Basically, this road has had a major makeover for several blocks, with a one-way bike lane alongside a sidewalk separated by bollards and on-street parking from two adjoining one-way travel lanes. Cross traffic at each intersection is also one-way, alternating in direction.
John Allen’s video shows pedestrians standing in the bike lane waiting to cross it, which is a little unnerving for cyclists riding at 15 mph or more. Occasionally John Allen yells at them to ensure they yield to him.
Cyclists have a separate light signal which is a mixed blessing because it lasts only half as long as the one controlling motor vehicles. There is still potential conflict with motorists turning left from the adjoining left-turn-only lane. I would also assume that any vehicular cyclist preferring to ride in the traffic lane would find the presence of the bike lane prejudicial to their doing so.
This is an improvement for pedestrians, who now have an island part-way across the street to assist when crossing it.
I’ll return to this subject in a detailed blog to follow.

         “Meanwhile, retail sales income in locally-based businesses along the 9th Ave lane went up as much as 50%. This was during a recession. In the same period, borough-wide retail sales only increased 3%.
         This was during a recession. In the same period, borough-wide retail sales only increased 3%.”

Charles Wilbur: " "

Charles Wilbur: “.. to the CyclingSavvy people … Missouri has the seventh worst drivers in the country.”

         So protected bike lanes do cost money to install—with every penny furiously contested—but next to nothing compared to routine roadway maintenance and expansion projects. And instead of continuing to cost the community, they boost business, grow the tax base, and save money for the people who use them. And they (even) create smoother traffic flow for people who (must still drive) are still driving. ”
         I was going to throw in to the CyclingSavvy people and the ones who advocate biking in traffic lanes another little stat that I came across while I was doing all my research.
         Missouri has the seventh worst drivers in the country. Those are the people you’re putting your lives in the hands of when you get out in the traffic lanes, so just bear that in mind.
         Thank you for your time.”

MP: Wilbur’s final poke at competent cyclists exposes a glaring lack of knowledge. It is based on the belief that a cyclist controlling the lane on a multi-lane road is at greater risk of being rear-ended by a faster-moving motorist than a cyclist in a bike lane off to the side.
That is not typically the case.
While such car-bike crashes do occur, often involving either drunk or distracted motorists, most are due to intersectional conflicts. They occur when a motorist, wanting to turn at an intersection or driveway, crosses a cyclist’s path and the cyclist is in the motorist’s blind spot or the motorist fails to notice them.
This is what led directly to the car-bike collision involving cyclist Susan Herzberg. As she noted in her testimony, for two-and-a-half years she never had a problem when controlling the curb lane. But only one month after it was replaced by a bike lane stripe, she was right-hooked in the new bike lane.

Linda Friese

Linda Friese


PRO: Linda Friese.
50:11 – 51:11

“I, too, would like to voice my support for the Complete Streets. At a time when we’re facing all these problems because of climate problems, and overweight and not enough physical activity, that we need to put as much effort as possible into getting people out in the street and walking and bicycles and any other form of physical effort is very important. Adding more space for bicycles to encourage them and fewer people to drive. Getting rid of some of the driving and parking issues.
         I really hope that you’ll vote for the Complete Streets. Thank you.”

Council members’ comments prefacing their votes on the bill:

Chairwoman Hazel Erby

Chairwoman Hazel Erby

Councilmember Erby: First of all, I’d like to commend Councilman Dolan and his staff, specifically Eric (Eric Fey, Executive Assistant), for the work that you’ve put into this bill. The meetings with everyone, to hear everyone’s concerns. I know you’ve worked very hard on this bill. I think I’ve changed my mind a couple of times sitting here tonight just listening to the concerns that everyone has. I know, and I believe in, a walkable, bikeable, community.
         However, when I hear some of the safety concerns, it bothers me. The concerns I had, particularly the cost control in terms of the highway department, I think have been addressed.
Councilmember Erby announcing her vote with Councilman Dolan looking on

Councilmember Erby announcing her vote with Councilman Dolan looking on

         But I’m concerned about the safety issues and I’ve wrestled with that as well because, it doesn’t say that you have to ride in that bike lane, am I correct? You have a choice as to where you can ride. So, with that, (sigh) I don’t know. I abstain. I’m just not prepared to vote on it tonight. I’m sorry. I know Pat has worked very, very hard on this, but I abstain.

Councilmember Kathy Burkett

Councilmember Kathy Burkett

Councilmember Burkett: I also would like to thank Councilmember Dolan for the time and effort that he has put into this, and I know that his concerns were legitimate. I know that he wants to be able to take care of as many of his constituency as possible, as all of us do. That’s one of the reasons that we got elected, was to take of the people that live within our districts and live within the county.
         I too, like Chairman Erby, do believe that the future, you might say, dictates that we become more user-friendly, as far as bicycling and walking. And most of you know me know that I’m a huge, huge proponent of mass transit. So I, again, like Councilmember Erby, there are some things that concern me. I understand that Sheryl Hodges, who is head of the highway department, is in favor of this bill, and that gives me much pleasure, because even though we are bicyclists and walkers, streets are made for motor vehicles, and highway department people are made to look at the availability and the use of those roads for motor vehicles.
         So I am going to vote yes on this. I do believe that there are some concerns, and I may add, just as a personal note, that if you see me in my white 2006 Chrysler Seebring, and you’re riding [58:09] a bicycle, you’d probably be smart to pull over and let me go by. (Laughter.)

Councilmember Colleen Wasinger

Councilmember Colleen Wasinger

Councilmember Wasinger: Thank you. I want to thank everybody who’s come here over the last several weeks to give your input, both for and against the bill. I think the bill before us is a product of much work on both sides, and I’m very appreciative to Councilmember Dolan and Sheryl Hodges and Glenn Powers, who I know were very involved in coming up with a better bill.

MP: Sheryl L. Hodges, D.E., is St. Louis County Director of Highways & Traffic; Glenn A. Powers is Director of Planning.
         The Complete Streets ordinance is a transportation policy that will allow different methods of transportation to be considered, not mandated, when highway projects are being thought out on an annual basis. The policy before us tonight states that the ordinance sets forth guiding principles, again not mandates, that shall be considered by the St. Louis County Highway Department.
         With regard to cost, which I agree was a great concern, there is no mandate to spend any money in this particular bill. Projects will follow our standard procedures, which is that the highway department will make a recommendation to the council for projects, and the council will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal. In addition, the public will be allowed input, as is our standard procedure on any items that come before us.
         Because of these checks and balances that are in place I am going to vote yes, in favor of this bill.

Councilmember Mike O'Mara

Councilmember Mike O’Mara

Councilmember O’Mara: Just real brief, er, I’d like to thank Martin Pion. We’ve always had a cordial relationship whether we agree or disagree. I mean, we at least talk. You’re probably the most dynamic – you never know what gear you’re going to show up at this council with.
         And as we discussed on Old Halls Ferry project, I know you had some input in that too. We did put a bike lane in in that particular project. We also added a bus lane before the elementary school to back up onto the main thoroughfare.
         So those are individual projects, the same as this Complete Streets will be individual projects, and we’ll work together with the community to make sure that they are the safest for St. Louis County, and keep the cost down. It is a big thing with the expense for St. Louis County, but I think, Pat, you’ve done an excellent job, working with both sides to move this project along.
         So with that, I go with aye.

Councilmember Pat Dolan

Councilmember Pat Dolan

Councilmember Dolan: Thank you. I don’t know where to begin here, but I’d like to thank the council for their patience throughout this, no matter how the vote goes. We’re here to listen to citizen’s comments and do the best we can. This is not just a District 5 Complete Streets policy, it’s a St. Louis County Complete Streets policy. So thank you all for your consideration and your patience. I also want to make a special thank you to Eric Fey, my assistant, who did a majority of the work on this. I can’t take all the calls and answer all the e-mails, and Eric’s done a tremendous job of representing the 5th District and St. Louis County, so thanks Eric.
          When we started this last April, or whenever it was, we had two different spectrums. No Complete Streets at all, and then Complete Streets that would be beyond any imaginable, I guess. So two different viewpoints were brought together, and it was really a collaboration of both ideas.
         Trailnet, in my opinion, does a great job. We need organizations like them in St. Louis County to speak for people. This wasn’t just a Trailnet and highway department issue, there were a lot of other interested organizations, and municipalities, but more importantly, the residents.
         The basic reason that we’re doing this is that we’ve been shown that the residents desired a Complete Streets policy and a consideration of it. So that’s why I undertook this and I appreciate again everybody for everybody’s input and I had the pleasure of talking to all sides on this issue, and I guess most of all, I enjoy seeing the passion people have about this in St. Louis County, whatever side you’re on. It’s rewarding to me, so with that I say aye.

Councilmember Steve Stenger

Councilmember Steve Stenger

Councilmember Stenger : Aye.











Councilmember Greg Quinn

Councilmember Greg Quinn

Councilmember Quinn: I too would like to thank everyone who has come out to speak on this bill. Obviously, some very passionately held opinions. Some people have said that bike lanes are safe, and some have said that those lanes are not safe. I have some thoughts about the subject also, but I think we should all be glad that I don’t design streets.
(Subdued chuckles from fellow council members.)
         This bill, fortunately, leaves the decisions about highways and highway expenditures, highway safety, where it always has been: with the county highway department, the highway experts. The highway department has always made the decisions on what is safe and what is not, and they will continue to do so under this bill. The bill doesn’t compel any money to be spent on existing roads or on future road projects.
         For any money to be spent on any existing roads or any future road projects, any specific proposal will have to come before the council for approval, as it always has. So really in that regard the council will have the final say in whether to approve any particular project.
         So I don’t foresee runaway expenditures with this bill, so I vote aye.

MP: Possibly without realizing it, Councilmember Quinn has put his finger precisely on the issue. If this bill is leaving decisions to the highway department “on what is safe and what is not,” and also “doesn’t compel any money to be spent on existing roads or on future road projects,” then that implies this bill is serving absolutely no purpose!
So why not simply vote against it?

Note: As a result of an oversight this wasn’t made public until 2014-02-16! Well better late than never, because it allows me to reference the ironic testimony I gave about “Incomplete Streets” during that county council meeting.

This was the last opportunity of the year for the public to comment before St. Louis County Council on the so-called “Complete Streets” bill, being promoted by Trailnet. As in the previous week, opponents greatly outnumbered the supporters who this time were two mothers and a Trailnet employee.

The mothers’ concerns were mainly to do with the safety of children bicycling on the road or walking to school. Those concerns can be dealt with by, for example, providing a crossing guard for the times when young children are going to and from school, and teaching them fundamental rules when crossing a street, as is done in England where I grew up. Not all children are mature enough to be taught how to use a bicycle for transportation. For those who are, I recommend the comprehensive Diana Lewiston’s “Bicycling in Traffic” curriculum for 13-year-old school children, and as demonstrated in the video Safe Cycling 4 Kids — 10-year-old Theresa shows how

Trailnet’s approach was to point to the law’s adoption by an increasing number of communities and to challenge the suggestion that implementation would be costly.

I agree that more communities are jumping on the bandwagon, my own City of Ferguson regrettably being one of them, and I perceive that transportation engineers favor it as another opportunity for road redesign and striping.

Complete Streets appears to go hand-in-hand with another new fad called Road Diets, in which roads are being restriped with fewer lanes. That may be justified sometimes and can open up desirable options for road treatments, but it is also used as yet another excuse for bike lanes. Or pseudo-bike lanes like the ones in the photo below which accompanied the St. Louis Post-Dispatch December 13th editorial: “Drop the kickstand.”

Below are testimonies I’ve received to date, including mine, in the order in which they were presented.


Karen Karabell TN 124 by 150 M 249 by 300

Karen Karabell, wearing her Traffic Cycling INSTRUCTOR t-shirt

Karen Karabell, St. Louis

I teach safe traffic cycling and I’m opposed to the Complete Streets bill.
         The “Complete Streets” phenomenon reminds me of being back in high school. Remember how in high school the “cool kids” dictated fashion and fads for the rest of us? And the rest of us at least considered what the “cool” kids advocated, because we all want to be “cool,” right?
         “Cool” is the main tool used to promote “Complete Streets”: Don’t get left behind. If you don’t have Complete Streets, you won’t be cool! The millennials won’t choose you. (I’m the mother of three millennials, two of whom still don’t have drivers’ licenses. I’ve asked them and their friends: Why did you choose to live where you’re living? Not a one has said, “This city has great bike lanes!”)
         But who can be against the idea of “complete” streets? The term itself sounds like Mom and apple pie. Everyone should be able to use our public right-of-way in freedom and safety. Who doesn’t want this?
         The problem is that the “cool” kids are remaking our roads in a way that makes life harder for everyone. If their roadway redesigns were merely sophomoric, it might be OK. But they are dangerous! Look to the city for Exhibit A: Manchester Road between Kingshighway and McCausland. Before this section of Manchester was turned into a “Complete Street,” it was one of the city’s easiest roads for bicycling.
         Now that the “cool” kids have had their way, people are getting hurt. Here’s what my friend Susan posted last week on Facebook:
         “Just had a collision with a car this morning on Manchester. Was riding my bike in the new bike lane and someone cut right in front of me to get to the gas station @ Kingshighway and I couldn’t stop. Took out her sideview mirror with my arm. ouch. I’m fine, will be bruised tomorrow and bike is fine, rode in the rest of the way to work, but I sure miss having 2 regular traffic lanes both ways on Manchester. I had 2.5 years of safe riding without the bike lane. So…be careful cyclists, bike lanes are really a much more dangerous place to be than in with the flow of traffic.”
         “Complete Streets” as envisioned by the “cool” kids is a fad. It will come to pass, as all fads do. Meanwhile, those of us who have graduated from high school will keep promoting and teaching the ideals of real transportation freedom. People will choose bicycling when they feel expected and respected as a normal part of traffic. I urge the council to recognize this, and to not be sucked in by peer pressure, fashion or fad.

Nick Kasoff testifying before St. Louis County Council 33 by 217 (L 510 by 369)

Nick Kasoff testifying before St. Louis County Council

Nick Kasoff, Ferguson

Like most people, I view this council as a serious legislative body. So I have to ask you: What has gone wrong with the process on this Complete Streets bill? This council is pushing through a bill which was obviously authored by Trailnet. You are pushing a policy change which is opposed by 80% of your constituents. And you are doing so in a complete absence of facts.
         There are a lot of questions an inquisitive legislator would ask about this bill. For example, Scott Ogilvie claimed that Complete Streets cost the city nothing. But just the “performance measures” section of this bill would easily cost the county $50,000 a year. And the “exceptions” procedure will run up huge costs, as it would require obtaining an exception even for activities like mowing and sweeping. Somebody on this council might have asked Ogilvie how such a bill could cost nothing. But you were silent. In fact, the only time a member has spoken has been to attack Martin Pion for supporting bike lanes on a project nearly a decade ago. And as it turns out, Mr. Pion found his correspondence from that time, and he didn’t support bike lanes at all.
         This bill imposes a complex regulatory scheme on our highway department. It will have costs, and will shift the allocation of department resources. Yet this council has not so much as spoken with the director of highways and traffic. Nobody has questioned the highway department about their cost estimates. Nobody has asked the highway department what impact this bill would have on their ability to maintain and improve our roads. I urge the council to refer this bill to committee, and to take public testimony from the director of highways and traffic. Anything less is a dereliction of duty by the council.
         A few days ago, I engaged in a debate about this bill with somebody on stltoday.com. The guy used a lot of lingo that most people aren’t familiar with, which made me suspicious. So I googled him. Turns out he is the press manager for Smart Growth America, a Washington lobbying organization that receives more than $600,000 a year in government funding. Those are the sort of special interests that are feeding propaganda to this council. You should ignore their fake facts and astroturf lobbying, and start listening to real constituents and the professionals in our highway department.

The following testimony I presented was intended as tongue-in-cheek and humorous, but designed to make a serious point. Namely, that while there IS room for improvement in the way St. Louis County Highways and Traffic performs its duties and interacts with the public, it is already reforming itself, and this draconian measure, primarily being promoted by Trailnet, is self-serving and not in the public interest.

Martin Pion, Ferguson

I know and like former Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein. After reading her recent letter, and then Ald. Scott Ogilvie’s OpEd, both supporting “Complete Streets,” I’ve had an epiphany.
         After all, who can be against a “Complete Street”?
         Does anyone support “Incomplete Streets?” They’re the ones you drive along and suddenly come to a screeching halt at a precipice. And just beyond it is a big pile of cars, and maybe some pedestrians and the odd bike. And you have to back up against that line of cars that have stopped behind you.
         What a nightmare!
So that’s what “Complete Streets” sets out to correct, as listed in the first section of the bill:

[Note: The following was read without taking a breath in order to keep my testimony within the three minute time limit. Try reading it yourself without taking a breath!]

1105.250 Complete Streets Policy. -The County shall develop a safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, accessible and connected multimodal transportation system that shall equally promote access, mobility and health for all users, and shall ensure that the safety, convenience and comfort of all users of the transportation system are genuinely accommodated, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people of all ages and abilities, motorists, emergency responders, freight providers and adjacent land users.

Let’s start by examing how “Incomplete” the present street is for each mode:

Pedestrians:” Currently, pedestrians aren’t accommodated at all. We don’t have a single sidewalk for them to walk on. And there’s not a pedestrian button or count-down timer in sight. That has to change!

Bicyclists:” If there’s no bike lane how’s a cyclist to get anywhere? We must have bike lanes on every single road, starting right outside your front door.

Users of mass transit:” I must admit I don’t often see buses heading down Florissant Rd. where I live. However, they do seem to manage somehow with what currently exists. And I’ve used MetroLink to hitch a ride on numerous occasions when I’ve biked downtown from my home. I can’t understand how that’s been possible without a Complete Streets bill.

People of all ages and abilities:” I guess the streets need to be modified to handle three-year-olds on big wheels. But I forgot: bike lanes will do that!
Paraquad, which represents handicapped people supports this bill, and I support them. Imagine being in a wheelchair and trying to cross the street when there’s a curb there. I wish there was a solution!

Motorists:” As I noted above, our present “Incomplete Streets” are a disaster waiting to happen for every motorist. Get cracking Alberici!

Emergency Responders:” They’re the ones responding to all those victims of “Incomplete Streets.”

Martin Pion donning helmet to make a point

Martin Pion donning bike helmet to make a point

Freight providers:” I forgot to mention the tangled wreckage of semis. When you’ve gone over the edge on your bike, the last thing you want landing on your bike helmet is one of those big rigs!

The person who adopted the term “Complete Streets” was a genius. According to Wikipedia that was Barbara McCann, who later (surprise!) became the Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition in 2003. It replaced the ineffective term “routine accommodation.”
Who wants that when you can have a Complete Street?!

         
I find Kevin Horrigan amusing, even on the occasions when I may not entirely agree with him. This time I’ll just make two observations:
         When Mr. Horrigan lumps all “bike people” together, he’s forgetting an informed and competent bicycling minority that supports equal access to travel lanes as far more desirable than bike lanes, because the latter confer second-class status on cyclists, and increase the risk of car-bike collisions, among other issues.
         The organization leading this effort nationally is CyclingSavvy, which offers comprehensive bike education courses. CyclingSavvy Instructor Karen Karabell runs the local affiliateCyclingSavvy – St. Louis.
         I also disagree with Mr. Horrigan when he writes near the end that cyclists and transit users only prefer those modes until they can afford a car, which has “horses and buses and bicycles beat all to hell.” That’s true for some, but there are others who want to be good environmental stewards, as well as doing something healthful, by bicycling for transportation. See, for example, BICYCLING Made SIMPLE for how it can be done safely on regular “Incomplete” streets.

The following is a long excerpt from the full article.

                   Buckboard love
Transportation policy • Streets are incomplete without buckboard lanes.

January 31, 2014 11:45 pm • Kevin Horrigan • khorrigan@post-dispatch.com
314-340-81354                                             Comments

FS sharp http://thinkbicyclingblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/amish_0409.jpg

The lack of buckboard lanes is evident in the above photo.
(Or maybe these are buckboard lanes with a pickup truck trying to muscle in!)
Source: http://www.touring-ohio.com/northeast/art/amish_0409.jpg


The St. Louis County Council has gone and passed a “Complete Streets” ordinance that gives the back of its hand to buckboards. It’s unconscionable. How can a street be called complete if there is no dedicated lane for buckboards?
         There was plenty of blame to go around in the council’s 6-0 vote on Jan. 21 to adopt a modified Complete Streets bill. The bicycle people were heard from. The car people were heard from. The pedestrians and transit people were heard from. But there was nary a word raised in support of buckboards.
         It might be argued that’s because very few people drive buckboards these days. To which the answer is “Duh … that’s because there are no buckboard lanes.”
         Without dedicated buckboard lanes, this transportation mode of the future will not be able reach its full potential. The suburbs will continue to sprawl. People will continue to idle in traffic, sucking in carcinogens instead of the fragrant, methane-rich, emissions of Old Dobbin.
         This cannot stand.

The big dispute that hung up the Complete Streets ordinance for two months was between the bicycle people and the car people. Bicycle people around the country are convinced that if America would just mandate the construction of bike lanes, transit islands and sidewalks every time it built or rebuilt a road, then pretty soon everyone … would abandon their cars, move into quaint city dwellings and create a city of the future, which would look an awful lot like the city of the past, only with more tattoos and fewer suburbs. Transportation policy would drive development, or lack thereof.
         The county highway department, which (naturally) employs people who are attuned to building highways, was skeptical. Eventually the ordinance was modified to say that bike lanes, transit lanes, etc., will be built when they are practical. You will wait a long time to hear a highway engineer call a bicycle lane practical.
         This is where the buckboard argument could have carried the day. What is more practical than a buckboard? A simple four-wheel wooden wagon, with an angled board at the driver’s feet to protect against a bucking horse (hence the name), buckboards were the pickup trucks of their day.
Which raises another point: The addition of buckboard lanes to the Complete Streets policy would attract support from covered wagon owners, stagecoach companies, surrey-with-the-fringe-on-top dandies and everyone else who, but for the lack of a dedicated traffic lane, would trade in his car for a horse-drawn conveyance of some ilk.
         Admittedly, in any horse-drawn conveyance, the horse presents some issues. Horses are high-maintenance animals that require feed, forage, veterinarians, farriers and grooming. These (and other) horse-related issues may account for the fact that buckboards fell out of favor approximately 30 seconds after the invention of the horseless carriage. Also: As more people moved to cities, they found it hard to quarter a horse in a two-flat.
         So Americans began riding bicycles and taking public transit, first in the form of “trolleys” and “street cars,” and then in the form of “buses” and “MetroLinks.” They did so, most of them, until they could afford a car, which let’s face it, have horses and buses and bicycles beat all to hell.
         But cars are not pure. Cars create emissions that warm the planet (so do horses, but at a much smaller rate). Cars created urban sprawl. Cars are bad, bad things, which is why transportation policies must now be designed to persuade people that bicycling is a viable alternative for travel, particularly if you’re traveling back to the 19th century.
         In which case, you should definitely consider a buckboard.

Copyright 2014 stltoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags
Complete Streets, St. Louis County Council, Sustainable Transport, Buckboard, Transportation Policy, County Highway Department

         
The headline in the printed St. Louis Post-Dispatch was:

After months, county gives OK to Complete Streets policy
Goal is better access for cyclists, pedestrians

The on-line headline was:

Better roads for bicyclists, pedestrians the goal of bill OK’d in St. Louis County

But HOW will roads be better? Bike lane advocates argue that this is accomplished by re-striping roads to accommodate bike lanes, as MoDOT has done recently on several St. Louis City streets after resurfacing. However, there’s no reason to believe that roads with bike lanes WILL be better for cyclists and every reason to expect the opposite. While more cyclists MAY be encouraged to bike on such roads, car-bike crashes will increase at a faster rate than usage rate.

That is not based only on expectations, including cyclist “dooring” with parked cars, and car-bike collisions caused by turning movements when bike lanes are present. A 2007 published Danish paper by Jensen Bicycle Tracks and Lanes: a Before-After Study, includes data showing such road treatments significantly increased crashes due to turning movements. This will be a later subject, following a blog featuring testimonies I’ve received to date from those both opposing and supporting this bill is published.

Karen Karabell at MetroLink with groceries

Karen Karabell at Clayton MetroLink station on return home with groceries
photo by Robert Cohen

Better roads for bicyclists, pedestrians the goal of bill OK’d in St. Louis County
Steve Giegerich 314-725-6758

CLAYTON • More than two months of polite but contentious debate drew to an end Tuesday evening with a near-unanimous vote by the St. Louis County Council to adopt a Complete Streets policy that will eventually make it easier to bicycle and walk along county roads.
         The vote, 6-0 with one abstention, carries the potential to alter the transportation landscape in St. Louis County and across the region.
         “I do believe the future dictates that we become more friendly to bicycling and walking,” said Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, one of the six to cast a vote in favor of the Complete Streets bill.
         Council Chairwoman Hazel Erby abstained.
         The measure approved Tuesday represented the third version of legislation meant to align the county with a nationwide movement to improve street access for bicyclists and pedestrians.
         The first bill, introduced by County Executive Charlie Dooley, loosely recommended that the county highway and planning departments consider additional sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes in the design of future road improvement projects.
         In late November the council presented tougher, alternative legislation intended to pressure the highway department to broaden the scope of Complete Streets across the county.
         That proposal drew the support of Trailnet, a nonprofit organization that promotes healthier lifestyles, and the ire of highway department officials who saw it forcing the agency to add costly and sometimes unnecessary bike lanes to the county road system.
         The objections from the highway department in turn spurred an outcry from a contingent of bicycle commuters and activists who appeared at successive council meetings to argue that bike lanes, contrary to popular belief, pose a safety hazard.
         Bill No. 3, a compromise introduced last week by Councilman Pat Dolan, appeased some and displeased others.
         “It’s obviously weaker than (the second bill), but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Rhonda Smythe, the Trailnet policy and advocacy manager. “It lays out a different direction for the county than what we have now.”
         Highway department spokesman David Wrone praised the adopted legislation for its “greater flexibility to ensure that financial constraints and accepted engineering principles are acknowledged, critical factors in the process.”
         Critics made on Tuesday a final and ultimately unsuccessful plea for the council to reject the Complete Streets policy.
         Cycling instructor Karen Karabell, among the opponents who has marched before the council week in and week out, expressed fear that Complete Streets would line the pockets of consultants and other beneficiaries of what she labeled the “bicycle industrial complex” — “a lucrative new industry (that) has developed around advising municipalities (how) to create and install on-road facilities for bicyclists.”
         

Susan Herzberg testifying

Susan Herzberg testifying

Another critic, bicycle commuter Susan Herzberg, related how she’d been struck by a car while riding along Manchester Road in a dedicated bike lane.
         “Cars don’t know you are there. They don’t know how to deal with bike lanes,” Herzberg told the council.
         “It gives the illusion that it’s a safer place to be. But it’s not. The safest place is to (ride in the lane) with traffic.”
         The points made against Complete Streets did not fall on deaf ears. But ultimately the council decided in favor of a bill that members emphasized would require the county to take cost and other factors into consideration before moving ahead with Complete Streets projects.
         Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger noted that the policy, as written, dictated that the access for bikes and pedestrians be “considered, not mandated” during future road improvements.
         And no Complete Streets upgrade can proceed, Councilman Greg Quinn added, without council approval.
         “I don’t foresee runaway expenditures with this bill,” Quinn said.

Martin Pion

Martin Pion

The following crop of St. Louis Post-Dispatch Letters to the Editor, published so far in January 2014, again reveals sharp divisions on this issue. An assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University writing in support today (January 20th), points out that this bill isn’t just about cycling, which is true. He writes, it’s all in the name, “Complete Streets,” which I agree is a brilliant piece of marketing, since before the name “Complete Streets” was adopted, supporters were merely pursuing “routine accommodations.”

The reality though is that modes other than the private auto ARE being accommodated routinely now on public roads, including public transit, walking and cycling. We have buses (and MetroLink, although expansion of the latter has been stymied by public resistance to additional funding, which Complete Streets legislation won’t change). Most urban and suburban areas in the county already have sidewalks. They are not always as well-designed as one would wish; for example, they are sometimes partially obstructed by utility poles or street furniture, and typically they are rather narrow so that two people cannot walk comfortably side by side. Complete Streets won’t change that.

Finally, this legislation is supported by Paraquad which represents the disabled community, but you have to wonder why. There is already the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which has existed for decades, and which has wrought major positive changes. Curb cuts at intersections are one of the most visible examples, but providing them is, as is often the case, governed by available financial resources. And even with a federal law sometimes they are poorly designed.

Which brings me back to bicycling infrastructure of the kind aggressively promoted by Trailnet, a leading supporter of this bill and of bike lanes. Informed cyclists, especially those like myself who are trained bicycle safety instructors with decades of experience, know that bike lanes actually make roads more dangerous for cyclists, and that is the basis for our opposition to them and to this bill.

Article on ‘Complete Streets’ was overly negative
January 16, 2014
Joellen G. McDonald • Richmond Heights

Your front-page article on the “Complete Streets” program under consideration by the St. Louis County Council was incredibly biased and overly negative (“Bike-friendly planning hits bumps,” Jan. 12).

With all the hard work that has gone into getting this program set up and before the County Council, why have you elected to present such a negative picture? How unfair of Steve Giegerich to focus on Karen Karabell without presenting at least one opinion of another regular bicycle commuter who thinks Complete Streets is both needed and wanted.

County Councilman Pat Dolan is my representative, and I give him my full support for what he is doing to get this program implemented.

‘Complete Streets’ improve quality of life for everyone
George Hazelrigg • St. Louis
January 17, 2014

Noted in your “Bike-friendly planning hits bumps” article (Jan. 12), the move to accommodate additional bicyclists on roads designed for cars and trucks is “basically a change of philosophy.” True. But the supporters of “Complete Streets” policies are not promoting bikes over cars. Yes, America’s streets were originally designed for cars and trucks. But supporters are not anti-car; many if not most bicyclists drive cars as well. This is not a bicycle issue, although even commuter cycling in St. Louis has “soared,” according to a recent Business Journal article.

Complete Streets simply reflects a growing nationwide belief of citizens and cities that streets are public spaces that should afford all users safe access and enjoyment regardless of their age, ability or means of transportation. Trailnet is but one advocate. Add pedestrians, transit users, the elderly and disabled, and school kids. And for an opponent to accuse Trailnet of “self-interest” when she is teaching bike safety to those few bikers who prefer to ride in vehicular traffic … please!

The good news is that Complete Streets really work, they are not busting tight city and county budgets, and more and more street engineers, motorists and editorial page writers around the country are signing on to a change of philosophy that improves the quality of life for all of us.

Bicyclists should pay for license to use roads
Tom Lehman • Webster Groves
January 17, 2014

To County Council member Pat Dolan and the supporters of the “Complete Streets” program regarding the slowdown in their efforts to spend more public money for bicycle-friendly roads, I say “Thank goodness” (“Bike-friendly planning hits bumps,” Jan. 12).

The time has come for the many bicyclers out there to pay their own way to use the public roads. It’s time for them buy a license from their city, county or state government and to have the license displayed on their bike or their neon posteriors.

Everyone else in this state, in order to use a public thoroughfare, needs a license. You need a boat license if you will be using a public waterway. Your car or motorcycle needs a license to be on the roads. Your plane needs a license to fly. You need a license to walk in a public stream with a fishing pole in your hand. It’s time to either license the bicycle rider or his equipment. A bicycle license would also help in the recovery of stolen bicycles as referenced in the Along For The Ride column (“Bicycle anti-theft registry is rolling out in St. Louis,” Jan. 12).

If they were contributors and paid for the right to be on public highways, like myself and my work van, I could better tolerate the spending of more public money for them and I could better tolerate them ignoring the traffic laws I must obey (i.e., stop signs).

It’s in the name: ‘Complete Streets’
J. Aaron Hipp • St. Louis
Assistant professor, Brown School, Washington University

January 20, 2014

I am afraid the St. Louis County Council is being misinformed or is short-sighted in its ongoing discussion of a countywide “Complete Streets” bill. It is all in the name: Complete Streets policies guide transportation planning by assuring the transportation needs of all users are being met, whether that be via personal vehicles, public transit, walking or cycling. In the past five years, 5.1 percent of employed St. Louis County adults used public transit, walking or cycling as their primary mode of transportation, a number 50 percent higher than in 2000. Cycling accounts for the smallest percentage of these three nonprivate vehicle forms of commuting.

There are distinct income and racial differences in the use of public transportation and walking in the county. Fifty-nine percent of county residents using public transit as their primary mode of transportation to and from work earn less than $25,000 per year, and 72 percent of those who primarily walk to work earn less than $25,000. County residents who are African-American are over seven times more likely to use public transportation to travel to work and three times more likely to not use a personal vehicle.

Complete Streets are not just about cycling with traffic or in newly constructed bike lanes. The policies ensure all modes of transportation, and all people, are considered equitably in street projects. The passage of this bill would at least provide a safeguard that there is complete consideration when spending taxpayer funds on streets.

‘Complete Streets’ bill would bring wasteful distractions
Hans Levi • Ferguson
January 20, 2014

Joellen G. McDonald’s letter, “Article on ‘Complete Streets’ was overly negative” (Jan. 16), deserves a response.

I’ve followed the debate on Complete Streets, and commend Steve Giegerich for his interesting and balanced coverage of this controversial issue. As a motorist, I assumed that cyclists preferred bike lanes.

So it was instructive to see Karen Karabell, who was featured in the article, demonstrating how to safely ride on existing roads, without handing taxpayers a costly bill for special lanes. Rather than spending potentially millions of dollars on bike lanes, and pushing cars into fewer lanes, it makes sense to provide cyclists with the appropriate training to safely share the road with cars.

Rather than responding to the latest fads and buzzwords, defeating Complete Streets will allow the county to continue meeting our real transportation needs, without the wasteful distractions this bill would bring. I urge the council, including my Councilwoman Hazel Erby, to vote no.

In January, 2014, I completed and uploaded a video to Vimeo, the on-line video hosting site.

Today (March 22, 2014) I updated it, replacing a still image of Karen Karabell with bike helmet-mounted video I took last August while cycling down Manchester Ave. and crossing Kingshighway with Karen following close behind. The video illustrates in under a minute just ONE of the problems with bike lanes: the risk of a car-bike collision with a following motorist due to a right-hook. This is not such an uncommon occurrence, as is clear from previous blogs here and articles on the CyclingSavvy website. The current focus was inspired by cyclist Susan Herzberg’s unfortunate experience on Manchester-MO Rte. 100 after MoDOT removed a regular travel lane to add bike lanes in October 2013, following road resurfacing during the summer.

According to the responsible MoDOT engineer, Deanna Venker, P.E., the restriping followed consultations with, among others, Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis City Streets Department, Alderman Scott Ogilvie in whose 24th Ward this road is located, and P.E. and Missouri Bike-Ped. Federation president Paul Wojciechowski, all of whom support bike lanes.

(Paul Wojciechowski, P.E., is a disappointment. He took the very first bike ed. class I conducted after I became a certified League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (LCI #625) in 1997. At the time Paul was Director of Planning in MoDOT’s regional District 6. Paul has also become a certified instructor himself (LCI #3558), which should have provided additional insight into the dangers of bike lanes.)

Oppose Bike Lanes! from Martin Pion on Vimeo.

Even without a bike lane stripe, many novice cyclists, and even sometimes more experienced cyclists, ride much too close to the curb or parked cars “to keep out of the way of traffic.” They don’t realize that they reduce their risk greatly by controlling the lane on multi-lane roads, (with the possible exception of high volume and/or high speed roads) given that typical lanes are only 12 ft wide, too narrow to share safely.

However, the existence of a bike lane stripe prejudices the ability of competent on-road cyclists to control the lane when necessary to maximize safety, while novice and less-confident cyclists now believe the road is safe for them. Motorists, meanwhile, have fewer lanes in which to travel, potentially leading to increased congestion and conflict with competent cyclists resulting from undesirable traffic engineering decisions.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Karen Karabell

Karen Karabell

My thanks to Karen Karabell, who runs CyclingSavvy St. Louis, for the time we’ve spent on the two occasions we’ve ridden or visited this road to obtain video or photos. That includes Saturday, January 18, 2014, when during the shooting there was a brief snow flurry, visible in this video.

Nick Kasoff smaller

Nick Kasoff


Nick Kasoff originally read the script accompanying the video because I was concerned that my British accent, which I still retain after 37 years in the U.S., might puzzle some Americans. I wrote a new script for this updated version and for simplicity, dubbed my own commentary.

Susan Herzberg

Susan Herzberg


And finally, thanks also to Susan Herzberg, who has assisted by telling her story and helping to publicize it.



         

Karen Karabell at Brentwood & Eager etc FS 620 311 (L510 255)

Karen Karabell gives a left turn signal while waiting at a stoplight on Brentwood Blvd. She is preparing to turn left onto Eager Rd. on her way to Trader Joe’s after taking the Metrolink from home to Clayton.
Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, Steve Giegerich, posted a story on-line following the county council meeting on Tuesday evening. His report featured the above photo of Karen Karabell and can be found here:

Controversial Complete Streets bill moves toward approval in St. Louis County

The story was also published in the following day’s newspaper. Below in blue are some quotes from the article. I’ve also included an italicized correction from Nick Kasoff which he posted as a comment on-line following the article:

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Nick Kasoff told the council on Tuesday about the amended measure.

Nick Kasoff: “(Reporter) Steve (Giegerich), your quote of me is misleading. I said it’s a step in the right direction in that it is less bad than the previous bill. But my testimony, and that of other opponents, went on to discuss the serious problems which remain.
         First and foremost is the continued presence of the Peer Advisory Committee, which is nothing less than an opportunity for Trailnet to take money from the county highway department. Everybody denies this. Yet, when I suggested the bill be amended to prohibit members of the Peer Advisory Committee from being compensated by the county for any work pertaining to Complete Streets, that request was ignored.
         And you completely missed the big lie from Rhonda Smythe, who in responding to accusations that Trailnet is in it to secure public money, asserted that they “fundraise every penny that comes through the door.” According to Trailnet’s 2011 IRS Form 990, they received more than $433,000 in government money that year, nearly double what they received in membership dues. If Trailnet is willing to lie about such a basic and verifiable fact, why is the council trusting them on so many other things, and giving them a statutory position to influence county highway policy?”

Complete Streets, a nationwide initiative aimed at expanding bicycle and pedestrian access on current roadways, has been adopted by 600 communities across the U.S. including, locally, St. Louis City, Clayton and Ferguson.

Critics, including Kasoff, maintain that the main focus of the initiative — the addition of bike lanes to current roadways — is costly and unnecessary.

Dedicated lanes for bicycles, opponents further argue, pose more of a danger to cyclists than traveling with the normal flow of traffic.

Councilman Pat Dolan, the bill’s co-sponsor, said the amended legislation cleared up many of the “misconceptions” about the county’s intent.

“There was never any intention to put a bike path on every county road,” said Dolan.

The final bill, he added, was crafted in consultation with the county division of Highways, Traffic and Public Works — a department that also raised concerns about the previous Complete Streets proposal.

“If it’s cost prohibitive then they won’t put in a bike path,” the councilman said.

Seven people spoke against the Complete Streets bill during the Public Forum at this evening’s county council meeting, while five spoke in favor.

According to the on-line Journal of the County Council for January 14, 2014, the following was the tally:

The following individuals expressed opposition to the proposed “Complete Streets Policy”:

Mr. Harold Karabell, 4147 West Pine;
Ms. Jennifer Bird, (Crestwood) 63126;
The Honorable Tony Pousosa, Alderman for the City of Green Park, 9700 Antigo Drive (63123);
Mr. Nick Kasoff, 125 Royal Ave., Ferguson, MO, 63135;
Mr. Martin Pion, 6 Manor Ln., Ferguson, MO, 63135;
Mr. Damien Johnson, 4707 Lindenwood, Apt. 20; and
Mr. Francis (Frank) Halasey, 9442 Tealridge, Crestwood, MO.

The following individuals expressed support for the proposed “Complete Streets Policy”:

Mr. Paul Wojciechowski, 16939 Westridge Oaks Dr., representing the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation;
Ms. Karie Casey, 6246 Northwood, 63105, who rides 7.5 miles for work each day;
Ms. Ellen Bern, 7001 Washington,
Ms. Rhonda Smythe, 411 N. 10th St., Ste. 202, Policy and Advocacy Manager, representing Trailnet; and
Mr. Matthew Wyczalkowski, 4106 Wyoming St., St. Louis, MO.

Mr. Joe Passanisi was not included in the above supporters list in the Journal but didn’t oppose it, and merely suggested two additions to the bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Dolan, noted that he was introducing Substitute Bill #2 to replace his original 4-page version.

This new 3-page substitute dropped some of the previous objectionable language. However, it retained the unique and undesirable requirement for a Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee, on which both Trailnet and Great Rivers Greenway would serve, as well as specific references to “bicycle facilities” and “appropriate accommodations for bicyclists.” Those descriptions are typically code for bike lanes, which have full bore support of both Trailnet and GRG.

For everyone testifying for whom I had an e-mail address, I requested their written testimonies, and received positive replies from almost everyone, to whom I’m grateful. Rhonda Smythe, Trailnet Policy and Advocacy Manager, is the only exception but I subsequently transcribed her testimony from the publicly available on-line video recording of the proceedings at www.gtntv.com. Where testimonies have been provided, or in the case of Rhonda Smythe, transcribed from TheGatewaytvnetwork web video recording, they are pasted below in their entirety in the order presented. Others are excerpts from notes made from viewing TheGatewaytvnetwork web video recording 1/14/2014 STLCC.

Please mouse click any image to enlarge it. Use the back arrow top left to return to this page.

Harold sm1

Harold Karabell: “With that incident, Susan became Exhibit Number One in exposing most of the hidden dangers of bike lanes”
Image from TheGatewaytvnetwork

CON: Harold Karabell, St. Louis

Distinguished Members of the Council: I have been a bicycle commuter on-and-off for over 40 years and a religiously devoted one for the better part of the past 20.
         I also am in the unique position of being on very good terms with many of the people from whom you’ve already heard, on both sides of the bicycle component of the Complete Streets controversy.
         I am friends with Martin Pion and Nick Kasoff. And for three decades I’ve been Karen Karabell’s partner and husband. Eli is the youngest of my three sons. (I trust that Karen’s charismatic presence and her impassioned statements in this eminent forum remain unforgettable, as does Eli’s own testimony.)
         And for the past several years, I’ve also designed and led interpretive bicycle tours of historic neighborhoods and other places of historic importance in the region for Trailnet. As a result, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know on a personal basis many members of Trailnet’s outstanding and highly dedicated staff, including Rhonda who’s here tonight.
         You’ve also heard testimony about the experiences of two veteran bicycle commuters on the “new, improved,” and allegedly bike-friendlier Manchester Avenue west of Kingshighway.
         Although my wife had used Manchester for many years as her preferred and very enjoyable route to Maplewood and points west, the very first time that she rode in the bike lane she barely avoided being right hooked three times by motorists.

Susan Herzberg

Susan Herzberg

         My friend Susan Herzbeg was not nearly so fortunate. After almost three years of trouble-free commuting on Manchester, she WAS hit by a right-turning motorist.
         With that incident, Susan became Exhibit Number One in exposing most of the hidden dangers of bike lanes: the near-invisibility of bicyclists riding on the edge of the road; involvement in curb-cut and intersection conflicts; an absence of room to maneuver; and the inability of motorists to judge properly the speed of a bicyclist. Of all the major problems associated with bike lanes, only “dooring” was absent.
         If Complete Streets were to mean in the County what it’s so frequently meant in the City, then its implementation would be problematic indeed for bicyclists.
         This controversy is a tragedy of good intentions. Everyone whom I know, including Alderman Ogilvie, wants safer streets for bicyclists and more riders on those streets. But the genius is in the details, not in well-intentioned mission statements with which no one disagrees.
         What might be the details of a “Complete Street” that avoids the hidden dangers of bike lanes, is cost-effective for the taxpayers, and is even more welcoming to bicyclists?
         One part of the answer is right outside the front door of this building. Instead of a conflict-ridden bike lane, there are shared lane markings, known in the bicyclist’s and traffic engineer’s lexicon as “sharrows.”
         Another indispensable part of the answer comes from Martin Pion’s good work in his home town of Ferguson, where he successfully persuaded the City Council to install not only sharrows but signage on South Florissant Road, Ferguson’s main street:
         “Bicycles May Use Full Lane. (Motorists)Change Lanes to Pass.”
         And last but certainly not last, there needs to be a major emphasis on education. While the County can’t teach Cycling Savvy, it can mount a campaign with billboards and posters that inform and enlighten both bicyclists and motorists:
         “Motorists: Bicyclists are allowed Full Use of the Lane. You must change lanes to pass. If you harass or otherwise threaten a bicyclists, you will face serious legal consequences. If you hit a bicyclist who is riding lawfully, you will face a huge fine as well.”
         “Bicyclists: You have the same rights to the road as do motorists. You also have the same responsibilities. You are obligated to follow the same laws. If you run red lights and stop signs, ride the wrong way, or ride on the sidewalk in a central business district, you are breaking the law and will be ticketed.”
         Some friends have told me privately and even stated publicly that mine is a minority position, even among bicyclists. I have no idea whether or not their assessment is true. But I do know this: Truth is not a numbers game.

Joe Passanisi

Joe Passanisi

Joe Passanisi, Creve Coeur, and former St. Louis County Highways & Traffic Dept. planning engineer for ~30 years, suggested the county council consider two items to put in the Complete Streets bill:
         When there’s a bond issue for a particular road there’s a public hearing on just that one roadway to get public reaction. Transparency comes from Highway Dept. public presentation of cost based on design ito bike paths, sidewalks, or maybe even additional traffic lanes. “It’s important that citizens hear the whole picture and have an opportunity to respond to the whole picture.”

Jennifer Bird

Jennifer Bird

CON: Jennifer Bird, Crestwood

“Councilman Dolan has still not refuted the Post-Dispatch figure of $300 million estimated to cover just 15% (of bike lane construction) of the county, which translates to $1.9 billion with a “B.” (MP: Actually, $2 billion if you prorate.)
         “I think that’s an exorbitant amount of money that I don’t really see a defined or real need. … And as far as really needing: we’ve got sidewalks and streets that seem to be in good order. … We just passed Prop P, which I fought, for a sales tax which gives us a tremendous amount of money to Great Rivers Greenway to do bike trails. And we do have a lot of bike trails, so again I’m not understanding. It’s my understanding we’ve got 0.2, not 1%, 0.2% of the commuter population is commuting to and from work on bicycle, so again I’m not finding that there’s a real need here.
         I do see eminent property violation and eminent domain abuse.”

Tony Pousosa

Ald. Tony Pousosa


CON: Tony Pousosa, City of Green Park

“Tony Pousosa, Ald. for the City of Green Park and candidate for County Executive and I’m here to oppose Complete Streets. My muni is surrounded by some major streets: Lindbergh, Tesson Ferry, and then Union to the east. This project: $300 million for just 15% of the roads; 1.6 billion for everything. Councilman Dolan, you were quoted in the newspaper as saying that we need to rethink this. And Councilman Stanger, you were quoted as always planning to have changes to the bill. I can’t see an elected official as you are trying to pass legislation without knowing the final details of the plan. That’s not fair to your constituents and I think it’s very arrogant to try to do so, especially when you plan meetings that are at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when most of your hardworking constituents who are going to pay for this are at work. I think this is related to special interests. I mean, who wrote this bill? Why can’t we have a fiscal note attached to this bill?”

Nick Kasoff

Nick Kasoff

CON: Nick Kasoff, Ferguson

After weeks of exposing the huge problems with the Complete Streets bill, substitute bill 2 looks like a step in the right direction. From a first reading, it seems that the new bill makes a little progress toward rectifying the safety, operational, and fiscal problems of Substitute Bill 1.
         Unfortunately, we just saw a draft of the bill yesterday. I think we can all agree that there is no emergency which requires that the bill be passed today. I am therefore asking that somebody on this council stand up now, and commit to regular order on this bill. That would ensure that the public has time to review the bill, and to discuss any concerns with the council. Since suspending the rules would require unanimous consent, any one of you can stand up for public accountability at this moment.
         Having reviewed the draft of substitute bill 2, I already have a few concerns. First, it preserves the peer advisory committee. While the purpose and authority of the committee has been blurred, it remains as an unprecedented and unnecessary statutory injection of private interests into public decisions. There is nothing preventing Trailnet, or anybody else, from providing information to the highway department regarding their preferences for road development. But establishing an official body with a specially anointed mission to do that is courting trouble.
         I am also concerned that the peer review committee is charged with benchmarking and performance monitoring. As I understand it, the department of highways and traffic is already well equipped to do that, with an entire department dedicated to that sort of work. We should let them do their job, rather than assigning it to outside special interests, who I’m sure plan to be paid for their work.
         The Indianapolis ordinance, on which this bill is based, does not contain such a committee. Even the policy elements proscribed by the extremist group “Smart Growth America” do not include such a committee. The committee will be nothing but an opportunity for mischief – and of course, an opportunity for Trailnet, the only local Complete Streets consultant, to charge taxpayers for work which it will do for the committee. The peer review committee should be eliminated, with responsibility remaining with the highway department.

Paul Wojciechowski

Paul Wojciechowski, President, Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation

PRO: Paul Wojciechowski, Wildwood

I am speaking as President of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation. Our Vision includes the following:

Improved safety for all road users
Creating a world class bicycle and pedestrian network
in Missouri
Encouraging bicycling and walking
Building a movement around bicycling and walking
including education
Seeking funding to accomplish the vision

Complete Streets accommodates all users — from motor vehicles to transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and Missouri is a leader in that, as of 2012, we have over 22 policies and ordinance documents throughout the state. Even the House and the Senate in Missouri passed a resolution supporting complete streets policies at all levels of government. This was adopted in May of 2011.
         As an engineer and planner with 30 years of professional experience with MoDOT, City of Clayton and consulting firms, I am cognizant of costs, and also understand that engineering design of streets takes the effective use of design guidance and standards such as the AASHTO Green Book, AASHTO Bicycle and Pedestrian Guidance, MUTCD and yes even NACTO, and local standards such as County standard drawings in concert with public engagement and engaging discussions with stakeholders in finding the best solution for the community.
         Complete Street projects range from one-block segments to arterial corridors, and from to freeway interchanges to neighborhood streets, or to integrated light rail transit-bus-bicycle-pedestrian design.

Transportation Planning
Urban Design
Public Outreach
Traffic Engineering
Safety
Parking
Land Use
ADA
Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities
Transit Integration

This is not a new concept. ISTEA, in 1991, presented an overall intermodal approach to highway and transit funding with collaborative planning requirements, giving significant additional powers to metropolitan planning organizations. The bottom line is that it takes multiple disciplines to create a holistic solution to transportation corridors. In St. Louis we have call this a Great Streets approach. The traffic engineers and transportation planners at St. Louis County are fantastic staff and will work to help make sure that all modes are considered, using the latest models and methods, and seek to maximize capacity and service quality for all modes.
         I encourage the County Council to take the step of passing this ordinance that provides the next step in working towards a truly vibrant community we call St. Louis County.

Martin Pion M 300 224

Martin Pion holding up St. Louis Post-Dispatch article featuring Karen Karabell

CON: Martin Pion, Ferguson

Madame Chairman, Council members, and County Executive: first, my thanks to Councilman Dolan for meeting with me, Karen Karabell and Nick Kasoff recently, despite our being strong opponents of his bill. While we met physically, unfortunately there was no meeting of the minds, as witness his SB #2 for Bill No. 238.
         The bill has been downgraded from a catastrophe: now it’s merely terrible. It still pushes bike lanes, which are both dangerous and unnecessary. Cyclists, motorists, and taxpayers deserve better than a blind and single-minded promotion of trendy but dangerous bike lanes.
         Last Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch story about the difficulties facing the Complete Streets bill featured Karen Karabell using her bicycle as she normally does: for transportation on existing so-called “incomplete” streets. She described it as uneventful, except for having a Post-Dispatch reporter and photographer along for the ride. I’ve spent decades as a transportation cyclist and educator, and can confirm her experience.
         A friend of mine has described bike lanes as “bike ghettoes.” When I first heard that I thought it a bit extreme but I’m warming to it. Bike lanes make it much harder for competent cyclists like me to control the lane on a multi-lane road like the one Karen Karabell was using as she cycled past the Galleria on her way to Trader Joe’s last week. Novice cyclists will believe a bike lane makes on-road cycling safe. But that false sense of security leads to death or serious injury due to car-bike collisions with turning motorists, and from dooring, when the bike lane is alongside on-street parking. Both of these problems exist on the newly restriped MoDOT Manchester Ave.-MO Route 100, following recommendations by Great Rivers Greenway and others in St. Louis City.
         The council has also failed to consider the cost of bike lanes. Much has been made of the construction cost, which could be as much as two billion dollars. But bike lanes have higher maintenance requirements than traffic lanes. The Long Beach California bicycle master plan estimates maintenance costs of $2,000 a year per mile of bike lane. (Ref. below)
         Adding bike lanes on each side to just 250 miles of road would cost the county a million dollars a year in maintenance costs. Is the council prepared to divert a million dollars from road maintenance in order to maintain dangerous bike lanes?
         If not, this bill should explicitly state that bike lanes are NOT a required element of Complete Streets as adopted by St. Louis County.

For reference, please see page 124 of the Long Beach Bicycle Master Plan, on-line at:

http://www.bikelongbeach.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/LB-Master-Plan-Design-and-Maintenance.pdf

Karie Casey

Karie Casey

PRO: Karie Casey, St. Louis

“I’m here to support Complete Streets. I live in the DeMun neighborhood in Clayton and I work in Evans law firm downtown. I have been a bike commuter for a good 20 years. I have seen the evolution of cycling in St. Louis and more and more commuters out there. Have been hit by a truck while driving my bike home from work on Lindell Ave. where there’s no bike lane.
         First of all, I don’t think Complete Streets equals bike lanes so that’s a misconception that we have to get out of our heads. Complete Streets is a plan to make our community more livable and brings lots and lots of benefits.
         We want people to feel safe. We want drivers to realize that cyclists have a right to the road. Just because we have a right to the road doesn’t mean we want a bike lane. And it doesn’t mean the opposite: that we’re not safer. I think it encourages people who aren’t as “Cycling Savvy” as some of the people who’ve spoken today to get out and ride their bikes to work; to ride to the grocery store; to church or around the community. It makes parents more willing to let their kids go out and ride their bikes: to go up to the swimming pool or something. So this is about a vision. It’s about health of the community.”

CON: Damien Johnson

Damien Johnson

Damien Johnson

“I have been riding both in the city and the county for a variety of reasons. The Post-Dispatch mentioned the bike lanes on Chippewa: I found them unnecessary. Bicyclists can ride on the side streets. The main roads are better for motorists. I think if cyclists want it there could be a tax applied when they go buy their bikes so they can pay for this and pay for the safety. There should be enforce(ment of) the safety rules, particularly when they run a red light or when they ride on the wrong side of the street. I also call for more transparency. If we have an initiative dealing with bike lanes and roads maybe it should be a standalone bill so we can debate it by itself.
         When I visited the Netherlands I saw streets where it was cars in the middle, it had bike lanes, and then pedestrians off to the side, but then you didn’t have parallel parking. That’s one idea but it may not be good for the whole county.”

PRO: Ellen Bern, University City

Ellen Bern

Ellen Bern

“I live in University City and I want to strongly encourage the county council to plan for our future and to pass this Complete Streets ordinance. And I ask you to do this for a few reasons:
Mainly, we need to raise the bar, and plan for the kind of community we’d like to have, and to improve the communities we do have. Talking about the money is a bit of a smokescreen. At this point we’re talking about a concept.”
(Ended by advocating for bike lanes everywhere.)

CON: Francis “Frank” Halasey

Francis "Frank" Halasey

Francis “Frank” Halasey

Began by complaining about the meeting time. Thinks Complete Streets is a waste of a lot of tax dollars for bike lanes.

“It gives a false sense of security when there’s a painted line between the car and the bikes. I’m a relatively new driver and it drives me crazy when there are bikes right next to me.”

Despite repeated phone and e-mail requests for a copy of her testimony, regrettably no response was received from Rhonda Smythe, Trailnet’s Policy & Advocacy Manager. However, I transcribed it from TheGatewaytvnetwork on-line and have pasted it below for information and completeness.

Rhonda Smythe, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Trailnet

Rhonda Smythe, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Trailnet

PRO: Rhonda Smythe

“Good evening council members, my name is Rhonda Smythe. I’m the Policy and Advocacy Manager over at Trailnet. I want to thank you again for the, um, the whole of the time that you’ve spent on this issue and all of the perspectives that we’ve heard thus far.          Tonight I simply come to you with some facts, the first one being that Trailnet is a non-profit. We raise every dime that we bring in the door and have been able to maintain a staff of 20 St. Louis residents, um, even through the economic downturn.
         The second is that the recent MoDOT Missouri on the Move sessions, they gave out a survey asking what the top priorities for each region were. The St. Louis District reported that, in order, their priorities were:

Number 1: Structurally sound bridges and overpasses
2: A robust public transit system
3: Safe spaces for bike riders
4: Smooth roads, and
5: Improving highways

         So that was a MoDOT survey asking their constituents what was important to them.

         The second fact I’d like to present is pulled from the 2013 National Association for Realtors survey showing buying preferences that support Complete Streets. Showing that recent movers support the walkable community by 58%. That a neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores, and businesses that are easy to walk to is preferred over a neighborhood that only require driving to stores and businesses. This survey also showed that there is also a need for more safe routes for riding bikes to work and shopping. 48% of participants said that there was too few safe bike routes compared to 41% who said that there was the right amount, leaving only a few to say that we didn’t need them at all.
         The third fact I’d like to present is the AARP Policy Position which states America needs streets to be designed to be safe and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle, and transit, regardless of age or ability. As the nation ages Complete Streets planning presents an opportunity to increase the safety and availability of older adults travel options.
         Fourth, in the St. Louis County’s Strategic Plan, it clearly delineates an investment in pedestrian and bicycle facilities to increase mobility, promote physical activity, and encourage social interactions for people of all ages and abilities.
         The UDSOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects.
         The FHWA policy is that bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be established in new construction and reconstruction projects in all urbanized areas unless one or more of the three following conditions are met:
         And I’ll have to e-mail that to you.
         The recent American Community Survey for St. Louis County shows that about 10,000 people take transit to work every day, about 7,000 walk to work, and about 1,000 bike to work.
         Complete Streets is looking at all those modes of transportation. It’s not a solution for athletes who are able to keep themselves safe, or who are willing and able to ride in traffic that is 35 mph, 40 mph, or 45 mph. It’s for everyone else. For people who have a hard time crossing the street. For kids walking to school.”

Chairwoman Hazel Erby: Please wrap your comments up.

“Thank you for your time and support this policy.”

Matthew Wyczalkowski

Dr. Matthew Wyczalkowski

PRO: Matthew A. Wyczalkowski, St. Louis City
(pronounced: Vee-chal-kov-ski)

My name is Matthew Wyczalkowski and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the Complete Streets proposal.  I am a resident of St. Louis city, and have been for over a decade.  After finishing my PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University, I had the opportunity to relocate to a variety of cities, and an important consideration was the quality of life. 
         I am an experienced cyclist – I rode as a kid, raced in college, and commute by bicycle every day – and having the option to ride to work was a definite consideration when I chose to remain in St. Louis.  (I now work as a scientist at the Washington University School of Medicine.)  Cycling gives me exercise, clears my mind, saves money, and connects me with the community.  I have many friends and co-workers who feel this way too.
         About a year ago, poorly planned construction along my daily bike ride created serious hazards for cyclists.  That road – Tower Grove Avenue – is the busiest bicycle corridor in St. Louis. Sparked by frustration and fear for my personal safety, I started the http://SafeTGA.org blog (which stands for Safe Tower Grove Avenue) to advocate for safer bicycle infrastructure and to encourage a dialog with other cyclists.  I have learned a lot about the state of cycling in St. Louis since, and I welcome you to visit the blog for more details.
         One thing I learned is that the overwhelming majority of cyclists I spoke to — and I’ve talked to many of them — believe just like me that bike lanes and other infrastructure make cycling safer and encourage more people to ride.  My next door neighbor, for instance, started riding his bike to work only when bike lanes were installed on a stretch of Tower Grove Ave — he told me he he had never considered riding to work before those lanes gave him a place on the road.
         I also learned that there is a small but loud community of cyclists who oppose most if not all bike infrastructure.  I am a fair minded person, and to learn more about their perspective I attended the Cycling Savvy course taught by Karen Karabell, who I understand has testified here in the past.  I found that the course is useful for novice riders and teaches basic urban cycling tactics.  The course does not, however, provide any sort of guidance or vision for how to build roads which are safe for cyclists, any more than knowing how to drive makes you a civil engineer.
         I do have degrees in engineering, and have tried to put them to use by riding, photographing, and writing about new bicycle infrastructure being installed in St. Louis.  Designing good infrastructure is hard, and my aim is to provide feedback to help make it better.  I recognize some mistakes will be made now and again, but that is no reason to stop trying to make our roads safer for cyclists.  The return on investment is simply too great.
         People have a real desire for alternatives to the car – to walk, ride their bike, to take public transit.  I feel that way, and I know I’m not alone.  All too often, though, we live in a built environment which makes anything but driving inconvenient, uncomfortable, or unsafe.  Complete Streets recognizes that roads are not just for cars, and driving is not the only way to get around.  It offers the prospect of real choices in how we travel and live.  Complete Streets may not be perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.  I urge you to support it.

         
This latest version of Councilman Dolan’s so-called “Complete Streets” bill, Substitute Bill #2 for Bill No. 238, is definitely less objectionable than his SB #1, which came perilously close to county council approval two months ago. However, it still retains the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee which gives Trailnet, the bill’s primary advocate, as well as Great Rivers Greenway, self-serving and unacceptable influence. And it still includes references to “appropriate accommodation for bicyclists,” which can be interpreted to mean bike lanes.

If this is intended as a reasonable compromise those issues should be addressed by deleting the Peer Advisory Committee, which is not even present in the Complete Streets Coalition’s own model ordinance. It should also omit any reference which can be interpreted as including bike lanes, which are intrinsically dangerous, and prejudice the rights of competent legal on-road cyclists.

Substitute Bill No. 2 for
BILL NO. 238 , 2013

ORDINANCE NO. , 2013
Introduced by Councilmember Dolan

AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING CHAPTER 1105, TITLE XI SLCRO 1974 AS AMENDED, “DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC,” BY ENACTING AND ADDING THERETO ONE NEW SECTION ESTABLISHING THE COMPLETE STREETS POLICY.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1105, Title XI SLCRO 1974 as amended, “Department of Highways and Traffic,” is amended by enacting and adding thereto one new section as follows:

1105.250 Complete Streets. 1. This ordinance sets forth the guiding principles and practices that shall be considered in St. Louis County (“County”) transportation projects. It is the vision of the County to continue to develop and expand upon a safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, accessible and connected multimodal transportation system that shall promote access, mobility and health for all users; to ensure that the safety, convenience and comfort of all users of the transportation system are genuinely considered, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people of all ages and abilities, motorists, emergency responders, freight providers and adjacent land users; and to continue to encourage safe walking, bicycling, transit and vehicle use for all users, regardless of age or ability, in efforts to create an interconnected network of complete streets, linking communities together. County believes inclusion of complete streets will help promote healthy, livable communities and further support a variety of mobility goals expressed in the St. Louis County Strategic Plan.

2. As used in this section:
i. “complete street” means a transportation corridor for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe accessible travel for all users with a goal towards creating a network of complete streets. Transportation improvements, facilities and amenities that may contribute to complete streets and that are considered as elements of a complete street are: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant pedestrian access routes, street and sidewalk lighting, pedestrian and bicycle facilities; access management; ADA compliant transit stops and stations; context sensitive landscaping, utility relocations and street amenities allowing for efficient levels of service.
ii. “Pedestrian” means:
(a) A person on foot; or
(b) A person using any means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle; or
(c) A person using an electrical personal assistive mobility device; or
(d) A person operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle, and by reason of physical disability, is otherwise restricted in movement or unable to move about on foot.

3. The Department of Highways and Traffic and Public Works (“Department”) will, where practicable, economically feasible and maintainable, routinely incorporate one or more complete street elements into County transportation projects to create a safer, more accessible street for all users. These elements provide appropriate accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, motorists, and persons of all abilities, regardless of age, while promoting safe operation for all users, in a coordinated manner consistent with, context sensitive to and supportive of, the surrounding community.

4. The Director of Highways and Traffic and Public Works (“Director”) shall consider the incorporation of federally recognized best practice complete street elements and allow design flexibility to balance user needs, where appropriate, in the design and construction of County transportation projects, improvements and facilities. Other factors to be considered shall include, but not be limited to: cost of improvements; budget for the project; space and area requirements and limitations; federal, state and local legal requirements and limitations; property rights and acquisition; foreseeable future land use; and on-going maintenance and operational costs. This policy further requires consideration of complete street elements by the Director of Planning and the Planning Commission through the planning, development review and approval process or in other appropriate circumstances.

5. County will incorporate complete streets principles into public strategic plans, standards plans, manuals, rules, regulations and programs as appropriate.

6. County shall foster partnerships with the State of Missouri, local municipalities, neighboring
communities, Metro, business districts, chambers of commerce, Great Rivers Greenway and other agencies, in consideration of functional facilities and accommodations in furtherance of the County’s complete streets policy and the continuation of such facilities and accommodations within other County communities. Elements that require maintenance by other entities will be handled via separate agreement between the interested parties.

7. County recognizes that complete streets may be achieved through single elements incorporated into a particular project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements over time. County intends to investigate and draw upon various possible funding sources, including partnering with other communities and agencies, to plan and implement this policy in order to make complete street elements more economically feasible.

8. During the planning phase of County transportation projects, the Director will task staff to analyze ways to incorporate one or more complete street elements into the County transportation project and document study results. The study and analysis will include cost estimates, whether the elements can be incorporated in a safe manner, the degree that such improvements or facilities may be used, the benefit of such improvements or facilities to other public transportation improvements, whether additional property is required, physical or area requirements or limitations, long-term maintenance considerations and any other factors deemed by the Director to be relevant. Study details will be commensurate with project type and size and in accordance with implementation procedures. Emergency maintenance and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects will be excluded from study. Routine maintenance projects may be excluded from these requirements by the Director of Highways on a case-by-case basis. Such exclusions will be documented in the planning process.

The Director will brief the St. Louis County Board of Highways and Traffic (“Board”) regarding details of the complete streets analyses. The brief will also be distributed in writing to the Interdepartmental Advisory Team established pursuant to subsection 9 of this section and made available on the County website.

9. The Director will form an Interdepartmental Advisory Team to discuss complete streets goals in context of all County policies, plans and projects and in accordance with the County’s Strategic Plan. The Interdepartmental Advisory Team will consist of Directors or their designees from the Department of Highways and Traffic/Public Works, and the Departments of Planning, Health, Parks and Recreation and any other departments deemed appropriate by the Director. The Interdepartmental Advisory Team shall, within six months of ordinance adoption, initiate the following:

(a) Meet quarterly to discuss implementation and barriers to inclusion of complete streets elements into recent and ongoing projects;

(b) Develop an action plan to more fully integrate complete streets principles into appropriate policy documents, plans, project selection processes, design manuals and implementation (construction and maintenance) procedures;

(c) Propose revisions to the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances and other applicable regulations to integrate, accommodate and balance the needs of all users of the transportation network;

(d) Convene a Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee;
(e) On a semi-annual basis, prepare a summary briefing regarding consideration of and progress towards complete streets implementation including quantifying metrics and performance measures and present this briefing to the Board of Highways and Traffic and the County Council.

10. A Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee shall be convened by the Interdepartmental Advisory Team to provide input and support for continuous improvement and coordination of complete streets projects throughout St. Louis County. The Peer Advisory Committee shall include, but not be limited to, representation from MoDOT, Metro, Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis County Municipal League, organizations that support the disability community such as the St. Louis County Commission on disabilities, the Home Builders Association, and organizations that support multi-modal facilities such as Trailnet. Other members may include representation from the bicycle, pedestrian, youth, elderly or disabled communities or other advocacy organizations as relevant. The Peer Advisory Committee shall:

(a) Meet on a semi-annual basis, convening within six months of the effective date of this ordinance.

(b) Review and provide comment on the Department’s semi-annual report to the Board and County Council.

(c) Provide best practices, lessons learned, case studies and other resources on complete streets that the County can use to continually improve the complete streets action plan developed by the Interdepartmental Advisory Team.

(d) Assist in the identification of appropriate and reasonable performance measures and help establish
benchmarks for performance. The Peer Advisory Committee may seek assistance from appropriate community resources to help measure and monitor performance. Results of the benchmarking and performance will be collected annually and reported to the County Council.

11. County personnel will routinely seek professional development on complete streets principles and continue to attend workshops and other educational opportunities available to planners and engineers so that everyone working on the transportation network understands the importance of the complete streets vision and how they can implement it in their everyday work. County also recognizes that public outreach, education and communication are key factors of success.

ADOPTED:
APPROVED: CHAIR, COUNTY COUNCIL
ATTEST:
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE 8
APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:
COUNTY COUNSELOR

Eric Fey, Executive Assistant to Councilman Pat Dolan, the bill’s sponsor, was kind enough to provide the text of Substitute Bill No. 1 for BILL NO. 238, 2013, also known as “Complete Streets,” several weeks ago and reproduced below. Eric mentioned that the substitute was modeled after language originally approved by the City/County Government of Indianapolis.

Councilman Dolan’s Substitute Bill No. 1 certainly differs greatly in both its scope and requirements from the original BILL NO. 238 introduced by Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, as well as St. Louis City’s Complete Streets ordinance approved in April 2010. The original version was approved by the St. Louis County Highways and Traffic Department. This substitute is being aggressively promoted by Trailnet, and gives them a voice in its implementation via a new Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee, established by the bill if it becomes law.

DL35-838
Substitute Bill No. 1 for
BILL NO. 238 , 2013

ORDINANCE NO. , 2013
Introduced by Councilmember Dolan

AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING CHAPTER 1105, TITLE XI SLCRO 1974 AS AMENDED, “DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC,” BY ENACTING AND ADDING THERETO EIGHT NEW SECTIONS ESTABLISHING ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S COMPLETE STREETS POLICY.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1105, Title XI SLCRO 1974 as amended, “Department of Highways and Traffic,” is amended by enacting and adding thereto eight new sections as follows:

1105.250 Complete Streets Policy. -The County shall develop a safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, accessible and connected multimodal transportation system that shall equally promote access, mobility and health for all users, and shall ensure that the safety, convenience and comfort of all users of the transportation system are genuinely accommodated, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people of all ages and abilities, motorists, emergency responders, freight providers and adjacent land users.
St. Louis County believes inclusion of Complete Streets will help promote healthy, livable communities and further support a variety of mobility goals expressed in the St. Louis County Strategic Plan.

1105.255 Definitions. 1. “Complete Streets” means streets that are planned, designed, operated, and maintained, in a context sensitive manner, to enable low-stress, safe and comfortable access for all users, in that pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users of all ages and abilities are able to move safely and comfortably along and across a street.
2. “Pedestrian” means:

(a) A person who is on foot; or
(b) A person who is using any means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle; or
(c) A person who is using an electric personal assistive mobility device; or
(d) A person who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle to act as a pedestrian and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise restricted in movement as or unable to move about on foot.

3. “Users” means individuals that use streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, public transportation riders and drivers, emergency responders, freight providers and people of all ages and abilities, including children, youth, families, older adults and individuals with disabilities.

1105.260 Scope of Complete Streets Applicability. -1. The County shall routinely plan, design, operate, and maintain its streets for all users and approach every transportation improvement and project phase as an opportunity to create safer, more accessible streets for all users. These phases include, but are not limited to: planning, programming, design, right-of-way acquisition, construction, construction engineering, reconstruction, operation and maintenance including restriping and repaving. Other changes to transportation facilities on streets and rights-of-way, including capital improvements, re-channelization projects and major maintenance, must also be included.
2. All transportation facilities in the public right of way including, but not limited to, streets, bridges and all other connecting pathways shall be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so that users of all ages, abilities, and modes of transportation can travel safely and independently. This includes, but is not limited to, the establishment of one or more complete streets features such as sidewalks, refuge islands, bulbouts, pedestrian and traffic signals, accessible curb ramps, crosswalks, bike lanes, cycle tracks, multi-use paths, traffic-calming devices, bicycle parking facilities, signage, street trees and landscaping, and public transportation stops and facilities in conjunction with construction, reconstruction, or other change to any county-owned transportation facility.
3. The Department of Highways and Traffic shall use methods of providing development flexibility within safe design parameters, such as context-sensitive design solutions.
4. Privately constructed streets and parking lots shall adhere to this policy.
5. This policy further requires consideration of complete street elements by the Director of Planning and the Plan Commission through the planning, development review and approval process or in other appropriate circumstances.
6. The County shall create partnerships of open communication and transparency with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), neighboring communities and counties, and business and school districts to implement facilities and accommodations that further the County’s Complete Streets policy and continue such infrastructure beyond the County’s borders and within municipalities.
7. The County shall implement and create a system of connectivity throughout the County road network to and between Municipalities, Great Rivers Greenway trails, Metro bus and light rail stations, learning institutions, civic centers and other high visitation facilities. The County shall accomplish this by coordination, and come to mutually agreeable safe solutions with previously named institutions.

1105.265 Implementation. -St. Louis County shall make Complete Streets integral to everyday transportation decision-making practices and processes. To this end:
(a) The County shall establish an interdepartmental advisory committee to oversee the implementation of this policy. The committee shall include Directors or designees from the departments of Highways and Traffic, Planning, Health, and Parks and Recreation Departments that have Complete Streets responsibilities. It shall be called the Complete Streets Implementation Committee and fulfill the following duties:
(i) Meet quarterly;
(ii) Develop an action plan to more fully integrate complete streets principles into appropriate policy documents, plans, project selection processes, design manuals and implementation (construction and maintenance) procedures.
(iii) Assess potential obstacles to implementing Complete Streets practices;
(iv) Propose revisions to zoning and subdivison codes and other applicable law to integrate, accommodate, and balance the needs of all users of the transportation network;
(v) Convene the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee; and
(vi) Provide an annual written report to the County Council showing progress made in implementing this policy.
(b) A Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee shall be convened by the Complete Streets Implementation Committee and shall meet biannually to provide input into and review the action plan and implementation timeline, design standard updates, performance measures, exemptions, and annual report. Participants should represent a broad spectrum of users of the transportation system, and shall include members from: St. Louis County Council, East West Gateway, Bi-State Development Agency (Metro), Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District (Great Rivers Greenway), Trailnet, Paraquad, St. Louis Regional Chamber, St. Louis County Municipal League, and the Starkloff Institute. The committee may also include representatives from the walking, bicycling, disabled, youth, air quality, and elderly communities and other advocacy organizations, as relevant.
(c) The Department of Highways and Traffic, Planning, Health, Parks and Recreation, and other relevant departments, agencies, or committees shall incorporate Complete Streets principles into all existing plans, manuals, checklists, decision-trees, rules, regulations, and programs as appropriate.
(d) When available, County staff shall provide and/or attend nationally recognized professional development and training on non-motorized transportation issues for staff through conferences, classes, seminars, and workshops such as those delivered by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA);
(e) County staff shall identify all current and potential future sources of funding for street improvements and recommend improvements to the project selection criteria to support Complete Streets projects;

1105.270 Design Standards. -1. The County shall adapt, develop, adopt and implement departmental policies, design criteria, standards including subdivision regulations, and guidelines based upon recognized best practices and recommendations in street design, construction and operations including those recommended by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
2. The County shall create, adopt and implement a Streets Design Manual which shall establish Complete Streets best practices
and incorporate the most recent federal standards and recommendations to support implementation of this policy. The design manual shall be created in conjunction with the Complete Streets Implementation Committee and include input from the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee.

1105.275 Exceptions. -1.Any proposed exception to this policy, including for private projects, shall be documented with data indicating the basis for the exception. The Complete Streets Implementation Committee shall review this documentation and record each Committee member’s concurrence or non-concurrence with the exception. All details of the exception, including the Committee’s position, will be made part of the public record. The Director of Highways & Traffic will notify the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee and the St. Louis County Board of Highways and Traffic (“Board”) regarding details of the exception, including the Committee’s position, within 30 days of the decision. The exception and Committee position shall also be made publicly available on the County website within 30 days. All exceptions must be approved by the Director of Highways & Traffic.
Exceptions may be considered for approval when:
(a) An affected roadway prohibits, by law, use by specified users (such as an interstate freeways or pedestrian malls), in which case a greater effort shall be made to accommodate those specified users elsewhere, including on roadways that cross or otherwise intersect with the affected roadway;
(b) The activities are ordinary maintenance activities designed to keep assets in serviceable condition (e.g. mowing, cleaning, sweeping, spot repair,) and surface treatments such as interim measures;
(c) The application of complete streets principles is inappropriate because it would be contrary to public safety or that the cost is excessively disproportionate to the need or future use; or
(d) Other available means or factors indicate an absence of need, including future need.
The Complete Streets Implementation Committee shall submit biannual reports to the County Council summarizing all exceptions with documented rationale granted in the preceding quarters. These reports shall be submitted during Council
meetings and shall be posted on the County’s website.

1105.280 Design Studies and Public Input. -1. All initial planning and design studies, health impact assessments, environmental reviews and other project reviews for projects requiring funding or approval by St. Louis County shall:
(a) Evaluate the effect of the proposed project on safe, convenient, and comfortable travel by all users;
(b) Identify measures to mitigate any adverse impacts on such travel that are identified.
2. During the planning phase of any improvement project requiring an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the County shall conduct a study and analysis incorporating this ordinance into the public transportation project. The Complete Streets Implementation Committee, surrounding municipalities, and any impacted educational institutions are required to provide input during the planning phase to maximize safe, convenient, and comfortable travel between destinations; input shall be integrated into the project purpose and need. The study and analysis shall:
(a) Include cost estimates for all mode components, safety considerations, the benefit of such improvements or facilities to other public transportation improvements, whether additional property is required, physical or area requirements or limitations, and any other factors deemed relevant;
(b) Be incorporated in the design and planning of each public transportation project; and
(c) Conduct a stakeholder planning meeting that includes but is not limited to pedestrian planners, bicycle transportation planners, public transportation planners, local air quality management districts, disability and senior mobility planners, and advocates for disability, walking, biking, and public transit including Bi-State Development Agency (Metro), and Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District (Great Rivers Greenway), Trailnet, Starkloff Institute, and Paraquad. Comments and recommendations from the stakeholder planning meeting shall be integrated in the project purpose and need.
(d) Conduct a public charrette process in projects requiring an EIS. Context sensitive solutions and recommendations from the charrette shall be genuinely considered in the context of the project design. 7
(e) Draft EIS documents shall be available to the public at no cost for a minimum of 90 days, or as directed by National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), before the comment period closes.

1105.285 Performance Measures. -1. Within six months of ordinance adoption, the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee shall convene, and within one year create individual numeric benchmarks for each of the performance measures included, as a means of tracking and measuring the annual performance of the ordinance. Annual reports shall include data on the increase or decrease for each performance measure contained in this ordinance compared to the previous year(s) and shall be posted on the St. Louis County website.
The success of this Complete Streets policy shall be measured using, but not limited to, the following performance measures:
(a) Linear feet of new or repaired pedestrian accommodation;
(b) Number of new ADA curb ramps installed along streets;
(c) Crosswalk, intersection, and signalization improvements;
(d) Percentage of transit stops accessible via sidewalks and curb ramps;
(e) Number of transit accessibility accommodations built;
(f) Total miles of bike routes created, improved, and maintained; including mileage of sharrows, bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, cycle tracks, buffered bicycle lanes and multi-use paths;
(g) Number of people of walking and biking;
(h) Mass transit ridership per transit stop;
(i) Number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities by mode;
(j) Number of children walking or bicycling to school;
(k) Miles of connection added to and from multi-use trails such as those in the River Ring;
(l) Miles of connection added that fill gaps in the existing non-motorized transportation network.

ADOPTED:
APPROVED: CHAIR, COUNTY COUNCIL
ATTEST:
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE 8
APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:
COUNTY COUNSELOR

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