Complete Street petition for St. Maarten: 331 of 1000 signatures collected

POSTED: 10/6/14 12:13 PM

St. Maarten —331 of the 1000 signatures that are needed for the “Complete streets petition” which kicked off on May 3 of this year, have been achieved but the organizers are urging more persons to sign this petition that will be submitted to government. The petition can be signed by visiting the SHTA website at www.shta.com

“The streets of St. Maarten are an important part of the livability of our country. The streets ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams.  We urge the government of St. Maarten and St. Martin to work towards making complete streets.  Streets that are designed to connect the community by creating a safe, comfortable, integrated transportation network for all users, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity, or mode of transportation,” the petition organizers state.

The organizers explain that complete Streets make economic sense and pointed out that households in auto-dependent communities devote 20% more to transportation than communities with Complete Streets.  “A balanced transportation system that includes Complete Streets can help stimulate the local economy by making it easier to take transit, walk, or bike to their destinations, reducing commutes by car.  By using alternative modes of transportation residents and tourists both can save money on transit. This “green dividend” means that that money can be spent in other ways, such as housing, restaurants, and entertainment, which keeps money circulating in the local economy.

“Complete Streets improve safety by reducing crashes through safety improvements. One study found that designing for pedestrian travel by installing raised medians and redesigning intersections and sidewalks reduced pedestrian risk by 28%.”

Petition organizers further believe that Complete Streets encourage a more active and healthy lifestyle and noted that inactivity is a factor in many other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  “Public health experts are encouraging walking and bicycling as a response.  Women who walk or bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.  A 30-minute round trip bicycle commute is associated with better mental health in men. A recent comprehensive assessment by public health researchers of actions to encourage more physical activity recommended building more sidewalks, improving transit service, and creating bike lanes.  One study found a 23% increase in bicycle traffic after bike lanes were installed.  The majority of these new bicyclists did not feel comfortable riding on that road prior to the installation of bike lanes.

Complete Streets can help ease transportation woes.  Planning and designing roads to make them safer for all users and more inviting to pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users can increase overall capacity and efficiency without a negative impact on automobile travel.  In addition, streets that provide travel choices give people the option to walk, bicycle and use public transportation leading to less cars on the road and less congestion in the streets.

Complete Streets help children. Streets that provide room for bicycling and walking help children get physical activity and gain independence. More children walk to school where there are sidewalks, and children who have and use safe walking and bicycling routes have a more positive view of their neighborhood.

Complete streets are good for air quality. Poor air quality is linked to increases in asthma and other illnesses. Yet if each resident of our island replaced one car trip with one bike trip just once a month, it would cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3,764 tons of per year. Complete Streets allow this to happen more easily.”

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