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The Park Forest Board of Trustees adopted the Park Forest Complete Streets Policy on March 23, taking another step toward more sustainable practices.
The Complete Streets movement aims to develop integrated, connected networks of streets that are safe and accessible for all people, regardless of age, ability, or chosen mode of travel. Complete Streets make active transportation such as walking and bicycling convenient, and provide increased access to employment centers, commerce, and educational institutions; all while allowing greater choice in transportation options.
The term Complete Streets means much more than the physical changes to a community’s streets. Complete Streets means changing transportation planning, design, maintenance, and funding decisions. A Complete Streets policy ensures that, from the start, projects are planned and designed to meet the needs of every community member, regardless of their age, ability, or how they travel. Doing so allows a community to save money, accommodate more people, and create an environment where every resident can travel safely and conveniently.
The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, seeks to fundamentally transform the look, feel and function of the roads and streets across all communities, by changing the way most roads are planned, designed and constructed. Complete Streets policies direct transportation planners and engineers to consistently design with all users in mind.
In recent years, the Village’s Elected Board has championed the principles of sustainability. The 2012 Park Forest Sustainability Plan contains an entire chapter dedicated to Transportation and Mobility. Of particular note, goals are specifically noted at decreasing the vehicle miles traveled per household in Park Forest and for Park Forest to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
Building on the Sustainability Plan, a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was constructed over the course of a year and was officially adopted in December 2014. The goals of Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan are to identify actions that the Village can take to improve and enhance active transportation networks, creating safe and enjoyable bicycle and pedestrian routes while encouraging a transportation network which serves the needs of all Park Forest residents with safe travel connections to neighborhoods, regional bikeways, recreational amenities and activity areas.
One of the key recommendations from the Park Forest Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan is to develop a Complete Streets Policy. The policy was developed by a team of Village Staff including representatives from Economic Development and Planning, Public Works, and Recreation and Parks.