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Survey Finds Alabamians Feel Unsafe Walking

House Bill 342 ensures that future transportation investments made in Alabama allow for appropriate and safe transportation facilities for all people—motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

“Alabama is currently ranked second in the number of obese residents, and complete streets encourage more walking and bicycling,” said Barbara Newman, environmental health program supervisor, Jefferson County Department of Health.

One study found that 43 percent of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those without safe places to walk were active enough.

“Complete streets also make economic sense,” said Nichalaus Sims, planner, Jefferson County Land Planning and Development Services.

A balanced transportation system that includes complete streets can bolster economic growth and stability by providing accessible and efficient connections between residences, schools, parks, public transportation, offices and retail destinations, Sims said.

Complete streets can help ease transportation woes. Streets that provide travel choices can give people the option to avoid traffic jams, and increase the overall capacity of the transportation network. Several smaller cities have adopted complete streets policies as one strategy to increase the overall capacity of their transportation network and reduce congestion.

Complete streets make fiscal sense for municipalities, and ultimately, tax payers.

“Integrating sidewalks, bike lanes, transit amenities, and safe crossings into the initial design of a project spares the expense of retrofits later,” said Tom Maxwell, senior environmental planner, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

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