Complete Streets

H.B. 1182, legislation defining Complete Streets for Indiana streets and highways, passed the Indiana House but didn’t make it through the Senate earlier this year.  This Bill followed a national trend to look at streets in a more holistic fashion, taking into account pedestrians, bicycles and public transportation, rather than just the minimalist approach of expediting the transit of cars from point A to point B.  The Complete Streets ideal also looks at issues concerning stormwater control and optimizaton of pavement.

Culver recently received a grant for renovations to Main Street as it runs through the downtown business district.  My understanding is that plans are underway to facilitate these improvements.  I spoke to Town Manager, Michael Doss, and he did not believe that the Complete Streets standards would apply.  (That was shortly after the grant was obtained and now his remarks appear sage-like as the legislation failed to move forward.)  Some of the proposed standards may be of value though and hopefully will be considered by the designer.  Improvements that make the downtown business district more pedestrian and cyclist friendly should be helpful.  We also have a continuing stormwater issue in Culver that could be improved by changes to impervious surfaces in the downtown.  Corrections to the existing stormwater system as well as other infrastructure should be considered as part of this project.  It would be prudent to make sure that we’re not tearing up the new street in a couple of years to correct underlying problems.

Culver does not have a lot of new road construction planned, so opportunities to employ this type of design is limited.  Now that the review of the the Culver Zoning Ordinance is coming to a close, it might be time to revisit the Subdivision Ordinance.  That document has not been updated in decades.  The Culver Comprehensive Plan is also past due for a review.  Some of the new research and trends should be considered for implementation in our planning documents.  Even without updates to these planning documents, there is the potential for doing this type of design through PUD’s under the current ordinance –  something I would hope to accomplish with Sand Hill Farm.

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