Balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and neighborhoods with those of cars, trucks and thru-traffic is a big part of sustainability. St. Louis is experiencing good results with its ‘Great Streets’ Initiative. Its goal is to trigger economic and social benefits by centering communities around lively, attractive thoroughfares that serve all modes of transportation.
To begin, citizens and local leaders were asked to look beyond the curb when considering their transportation systems, and to think about how better street design can create better connections, sustainable economic activity and an appealing sense of place. The South Grand Street pilot project, which includes eliminating a traffic lane, curb ‘bulb-outs’ to improve pedestrian crossing, and increased lighting and landscaping, has been a total success, with public feedback ten to one in favor. The road better serves the neighborhood and businesses, while still getting cars through safely.
Complete Streets can improve safety, encourage walking and biking, and create stronger communities and more viable neighborhoods and business districts. Local transportation and street design policies that facilitate walking, biking and transit for short trips can substantially reduce the carbon emissions that negatively affect health and that contribute to global warming.