St. Louis Puts Complete Streets Program on Hold

A complete streets program once thought to be on the fast track to approval has provoked strong opposition and is likely headed back to the drawing board in the Gateway City.
January 13, 2014, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A $300 million complete streets program in St. Louis, funded in part by Proposition P, a 3/16th-cent sales tax passed in 2013, has encountered strong and varied voices of opposition. Steve Giegerich reports that legislation to approve the program was once certain of approval, but now: “council members now say there is no timetable for enacting the ordinance.”

“Supporters say Complete Streets alterations will in many cases entail a rudimentary restriping of roads to identify lanes for bikers and walkers. They say the majority of the plan would affect rebuilt or new roads, not existing ones.”

“Critics charge that Complete Streets will require the installation of costly sidewalks, spend public money to widen streets and cause unnecessary congestion when traffic lanes are reduced to accommodate bicyclists.”

Giegerich’s reportage also devotes a notable amount of ink to an outlier among bicycle advocates: “In addition to raising concerns about cost, some foes argue that dedicated cycling lanes are more dangerous than roads that consolidate bike and vehicular traffic.” Giegerich quotes Nick Kasoff, “ a bicycle commuter,” to make this point: “Bike lanes are blind spots…When a driver is entering the road from a driveway, they often overlook cyclists who are riding at the side of the road. And when they are making right turns, a cyclist in a bike lane is often in the motorist’s blind spot.”

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Published on Saturday, January 11, 2014 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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