Indiana city to state officials: “We want complete streets”

Indiana residents: Read below to see how you can help.

Richmond, Indiana is putting the new bike-friendly federal transportation policy to the the test. The City of Richmond, Indiana has officially asked INDOT to change course on the $22 million dollar U.S. 27 project through the middle of Richmond and develop an additional proposal based on Complete Streets principles that give greater weight to the concerns of pedestrians and cyclists.

Currently, US 27 through downtown Richmond is a 25 MPH four lane street, with some one way sections. According to Mark Stosberg of Bike Richmond, the INDOT plan to improve a two mile section of US 27 includes costly changes (including right of way acquisition) that increase traffic speeds as Highway 27 enters the downtown area.

When INDOT began creating the US 27 plan, state transportation planners sought input from parties who could comment on many aspects of the road’s impact, from water and air quality to hazardous materials, historical homes and social justice concerns. Notably absent from the list of contact parties, however, was representation of transportation modes other than motorized vehicles.

The city of Richmond has asked INDOT to redo the US 27 proposal, specifically seeking input from groups representing non-motorized groups such as Bike Richmond and Health By Design. In the city’s note to the state transportation department, Mayor Sally Hutton notes that this project “is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is prudent for us to not only consider the best practices of today, but to seek transportation options that will serve our needs 20 years in the future. The project location is exactly where we need to promote walk-ability and bicycling access in our urban center where many people need to walk or bike safely.”

Indiana residents: How you can help.

Comments to INDOT on this project are due by TOMORROW, THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2010. Indiana residents, please tweet, blog, and post to Facebook and other social media sites to get the word out about this petition. You can also send comments directly to INDOT Hearings Examiner Mary Jackman via email (mjackman at indot dot in dot gov) or by sending a letter (postmarked by March 18) to

Mary Jackman
100 N. Senate Ave., N642
Indianapolis, IN 46204

In your email or letter, reference DES #0100701, US 27 Richmond, Wayne County and express your support for the city of Richmond’s petition for a new US 27 proposal that incorporates Complete Streets design principles. Including your personal contact information (address, email and phone number) is a good idea but not required, but at least put your city of residence in your note.

A win for this project could spur faster adoption of Complete Streets principles in other projects administered by the state transporation departments.

Read more at Mark Stosberg’s Bikes as Transportation.

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