(Letter to the Editor, New Paltz Times 01.26.11)
On Tuesday, February 8th, the Town of New Paltz Highway Department will be sponsoring a Complete Streets workshop. Kudos and thank you to the town for making this event free to New Paltz residents. We think it is wonderful that our town and highway department are taking a leadership role in this endeavor, because Complete Streets is a framework that many of us embrace and recognize as a viable path towards creating roadways that are safe and welcoming to everyone: walkers, joggers, bikers, wheelchair users, and motorists.
The Complete Streets (www.CompleteStreets.org) initiative is built upon the premise that roads are not just for automobiles. However, most roads were designed only for cars, and engineers and planners are confronted with the challenge of a) finding ways to retrofit existing roads to safely accommodate other users, and b) designing, planning, and approving any future roads to meet the needs of all users. The challenges are great, but not insurmountable. For example, in parts of our village, we have the legacy of very narrow roads that were built for horse and buggy travel! But that does not mean we should not rise to the challenge of creating a walkable-bikeable community that is safe and can accommodate everyone.
This workshop will give decision makers and policy makers the tools they need to implement the Complete Streets program in their community. It will be held from 8:00am to 3:30pm at the New Paltz Fire House (next to Village Hall). For more information, contact the New Paltz Highway Department at 845/255-5050 or download an application form at www.townofnewpaltz.org (click on Departments, Highway Department).
As proponents of green living and all efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, we wholeheartedly endorse this workshop and encourage a high turnout from our New Paltz elected officials, planning board members, planners, engineers, and activists.
Theresa Fall and KT Tobin, New Paltz GreenWorks