by Dennis Dalman
A Complete Streets policy was endorsed unanimously by the Sartell City Council at its last meeting.
The vote was 4-0. Council member David Peterson was not at the meeting.
The Sartell Planning Commission and the Sartell Economic Development Commission had earlier agreed to recommend the policy be adopted by the council.
The Complete Streets policy is a checklist of things that make cities safe, convenient and comfortable for travel by people of all ages and abilities.
It is a joint policy adhered to by Stearns County, Benton County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Area Planning Organization. Sartell city staff reviewed the policy with developers, builders and the Central Minnesota Builders’ Association.
Signing on to the policy does not require any kind of mandates. It is, in essence, a policy that helps cities develop a uniform approach to transportation with keen regard for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists.
The policy lists such things as road-lane widths, landscaping on boulevards, access to transit stops, bike parking, bike lanes, crosswalk enhancements and street/sidewalk lighting. Several Sartell City Council members noted the city already excels in those factors.
Sartell Administrator Mary Degiovanni emphasized the joint policy is a policy only, not a law. She and Sartell Planner/Developer Anita Archambeau said the city’s endorsement of the policy would help the city get grants for transportation safety projects. The grant process, they said, has become very competitive in recent years. Being part of the Complete Streets policy would be a boost for the city in the grant-application process.
The council agreed. Member Mike Chisum said he and the council should rely on the “people in the trenches,” meaning city staff and leaders like Archambeau.
“I trust her experience, training and knowledge,” he said. “I’ll vote for it.”