Jeh Jeh joined us live from downtown Birmingham on this Red Rock Tuesday to learn more about Complete Streets. "Complete Streets" is a term describing roads that allow safe and convenient travel for everyone. These streets typically have safe and accessible crosswalks, sidewalks, transit stops, and bike lanes that make it safe and easy to walk to school, ride the bus to work, or ride a bike around town. A Complete Streets network is the foundation for building safe and healthy neighborhoods by making it easier for people to be more active and connected, regardless of how they get around town. It's difficult for many people to be physically active in their neighborhoods because their streets lack the sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks needed for safe travel. Whether you are a kid biking to school, an older adult walking to the bus stop, or a parent pushing a stroller, Complete Streets connect communities and allow people to safely share the road with cars and trucks. The master plan for the Red Rock Trail System is 750 miles of multi-use trails, parks, bike lanes, and sidewalks.
Our vision is for every trail within each corridor to be connected, allowing Jefferson County residents complete access to alternative transportation and recreation near their home. Complete Streets allows residents in every neighborhood to have access to outdoor recreational opportunities no matter their location, income, or ability. Through the Health Action Partnership, organizers have been able to leverage the strengths and resources of over 100 organizations to work together to improve the health of residents across the region. No one organization is able to solve all of the health problems we are facing, but collectively we are able to make a difference and create healthier environments for everyone to live, work and play. Complete Streets is a great example of many organizations working together to promote a healthier community for everyone.
One in three Americans is now 50 or older, and by 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older. Ensuring cities are designing for Complete Streets ensures that all of us, regardless of age or ability, will have the freedom to get to the places we want to go. Birmingham needs streets 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. Bike lanes and sidewalks make up 53% of the Red Rock Trail System. Sidewalks and bike lanes are slated for neighborhoods to provide safe access to green spaces within the community. Sidewalks and bike lanes play a crucial role in creating alternative and safe modes of transportation for the people of Jefferson County.
At Lakeshore Foundation, the mission is to enable people with physical disability and chronic health conditions to lead healthy, active, and independent lifestyles, and transportation is a critical piece of that. Complete Streets involves designing streets that accommodate everyone, which will make it safer for everyone to get moving around the Magic City.
Complete Streets promote safety for everyone, regardless of the type of transportation they are using. Research shows that as you add more components of Complete Streets, such as sidewalks, wide crosswalks and dedicated lanes for buses and bikes, safety for all users improves. CAP is a business improvement district that strives to keep Downtown Birmingham safe, so improving the safety and accessibility of our streets is critically important to our mission. Complete streets and public transportation go hand-in-hand when improving our communities. Streets designed with all users in mind help connect transit to destinations – work, stores, school, and home. Every transit trip requires crossing the street at least once, and a complete streets policy ensures those streets have safe crossings and accessible sidewalks to get passengers, regardless of ability, from the bus to where they need to go. With the work BJCTA is doing to improve transit access throughout the region, Complete Streets are necessary to ensure residents can safely and conveniently access transit services. Zyp BikeShare is a dense network of 40 kiosks and 400 bikes deployed in Birmingham, AL in October 2015. With thousands of residents and visitors accessing Zyp bikes 365-days a year, it is critical to provide safe streets to ensure everyone can get where they want to go.
Complete Streets will help to create a network of bike lanes in Birmingham that will improve safety for everyone, not just cyclists. Follow the Complete Streets Birmingham page on Facebook or to visit www.CompleteStreetsBirmingham.org for updates on Complete Streets in the area and opportunities to learn more and get involved in making our streets safe for everyone. The Fresh Water Land Trust works to preserve open space and build the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System because it allows communities to reconnect to each other, to neighborhood amenities, to parks and greenspaces, all in an effort to improve health and the connectivity of our community. For more information on the many hiking trails and future plans, visit www.redrocktrail.org/.
Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.