|Complete Streets for All Users|
by Dave Reville, Communications Director, AARP Vermont
There are a host of ways we can improve safety and access for walkers, bikers, bus riders, and drivers on our roadways, while providing more options for people to get around. We need streets designed for safe and convenient travel by all users and all ages. That’s why AARP Vermont is working to bring “Complete Streets” design to all Vermont communities.
Complete streets provide older persons with a variety of options for getting around, whether walking, taking public transit, or sharing rides with family and friends. One recent survey showed that 82% of older Americans surveyed consider public transportation to be a better alternative to driving, particularly at night. More than half (54%) of older adults who reported an inhospitable walking, bicycling and transit environment outside their homes said they would walk, bicycle, and take transit more if their streets were improved. A majority of older people support Complete Street policies. Research also shows that moderate exercise, such as walking and biking, contributes significantly to a healthy lifestyle.
A community with a Complete Streets policy considers the needs of older residents every time a transportation investment decision is made. Proven methods to create Complete Streets for aging pedestrians include retiming signals to account for slower walking speed, constructing median refuges or sidewalk bulb-outs to shorten crossing distances, and installing curb ramps, sidewalk seating and bus shelters with seating. Improved lighting, signage and pavement markings are among the measures that can benefit drivers of any age, but particularly older drivers.
Complete Streets policies ensure that transportation agencies routinely design and operate the right of way to enable safe access for everyone on the road. Complete Streets policies make community and roadway planners think about how people can access the community without a car. We want this to be part of how Vermont plans its roadways, town centers, and cities and suburbs, so that people who cannot drive or want to drive less have more ways to get around.
The Better World Club offers bicycle-only and car-and-bike membership, including insurance and free roadside assistance. Better World Club offers VBPC members a 10% discount on new membership. The VBPC receives a donation for every new sign-up.