FF Council to consider non-motorized street policy [UPDATED]Published 7:18am Monday, August 6, 2012 Updated 12:21pm Monday, August 6, 2012
The Fergus Falls Finance Committee approved a new streets policy last week, but it wasn’t without some caveats.
Local health advocate Patrick Hollister, who has appeared before the city in the past as part of PartnerSHIP 4 Health, appeared before the committee to ask that they approve a “Complete Streets Plan.” The policy, which was already recommended by the city’s planning commission, has a simple goal.
“On all future road projects … the city will make an attempt to accommodate both motorized users and non-motorized users of that street,” said Hollister.
Hollister cited more bikes and pedestrians on the streets as evidence of the policy’s usefulness. If there’s more non-motorized traffic, he said, there’s more of a need to make sure that traffic is safely accommodated – and a greater likelihood that bikers and pedestrians feel welcome on the city’s roads.
He also noted that the policy is not meant to go back and change current roadways. Instead, it focuses on the future.
“If you’re mindful right in advance, proactively seeking opportunities to make the situation better for bikes and pedestrians, in the long run this will become a much more bike and pedestrian friendly community,” he said.
Though the committee recommended the plan to the council, Alderman Randy Synstelien had some concerns with the policy.
“I wouldn’t want to have future streets and such designed entirely with this in mind if it becomes cost prohibitive,” he said.
Synstelien had discussed the policy with City Engineer Dan Edwards, who noted that many of the ideas laid out in the plan are already in use by the city. Edwards called the plan “a philosophy” for street projects, a guide that could be referred to rather than a hard and fast set of rules.
“Not to say that every possible thing can be done on every project, whether it’s feasibility or affordability or whatever, but it’s just a reminder that we consider all these things when we consider the initial design,” he said.
The plan does say that the guidelines should be followed when it’s economically feasible to do so.