As you may know by now, the Complete Streets ordinance unanimously passed the City/County Council on Monday (8/13)! INDYCOG, AARP, Health by Design and a host of other organizations have been working to accomplish this task for some time and we are grateful for everyone's efforts. Additionally, we (coalition of organizations, INDYCOG members, & signatories of the petition) couldn't have made this happen without the support of Councilors Lewis, Barth, Miller, Oliver, Evans, Mansfield, McQuillen, Adamson and Gooden. These councilors worked tirelessly to educate both their constituents and fellow members of the council, who originally may have not been so agreeable, to the merits of this ordinance. We would also like to thank Lori Miser, the director of the Department for Public Works, for her guidance and support of the legislation. Lastly, while he hasn't signed the ordinance as of this writing, we would like to thank Mayor Ballard in advance for doing so. He has supported our work on Complete Streets from day one, and there is no reason to think that he wouldn't support it now.
If you would indulge me for a minute, I would like to quickly explain how the Complete Streets ordinance came into being. Roughly three years ago, Health by Design sponsored a workshop on Complete Streets here in Indianapolis. Randy Neufeld, a board member of the National Complete Streets Coalition and former executive director of the Chicago Bicycle Federation (now known as the Active Transportation Alliance), was invited to come from Chicago & expound on the benefits of Complete Streets as to how it could help our community and state. Many of the key advocates for the Indianapolis policy were in the room, as well as a new city councilor by the name of Maggie Lewis. From that initial meeting, Kim Irwin, the executive director of Health by Design, formed a Complete Streets workgroup, which has been meeting monthly in order to establish Complete Streets policies at the state level and in municipalities throughout the state (Indianapolis being one of them). This workgroup met with representatives from the Mayor's office, Office of Sustainability, and Department of Public Works, as well as community groups and other advocacy organizations, to develop ordinance language that was robust and would deliver the results we felt were imperative to improve the transportation network in Indianapolis.
So, in conclusion, INDYCOG would like to extend a thank you to all the parties mentioned above and to all our members and individuals that signed the Complete Streets petition. As a membership-based organization, INDYCOG is only as good as its members, so if you aren't a member, please consider joining. You can learn more about INDYCOG and become a member here.
As Margaret Atwood said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Kevin W. Whited