Complete Streets Building Momentum in Jefferson County, Ala.

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Midfield passed a Complete Streets Resolution Monday, Feb. 13, becoming the latest municipality in Jefferson County, Ala. to endorse the nationally growing movement. The Conservation Alabama Foundation, a Health Action Partner, has endorsed Complete Streets as a way to improve transportation safety, combat obesity and reduce air pollution.

"The complete streets concept is simple: to allow safe access on streets for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and public transportation users of all ages," said Adam Snyder of The Conservation Alabama Foundation.

The Conservation Alabama Foundation, a Health Action Partner, has endorsed Complete Streets as a way to improve transportation safety, combat obesity, and reduce air pollution.

Midfield passed a Complete Streets Resolution Monday, Feb. 13, becoming the latest municipality in Jefferson County, Ala. to endorse the nationally growing movement. The Conservation Alabama Foundation, a Health Action Partner, has endorsed Complete Streets as a way to improve transportation safety, combat obesity and reduce air pollution.

From 2000 to 2009, more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed in the United States. The Birmingham-Hoover metro area is ranked the sixteenth most dangerous metro area for pedestrians, with 136 pedestrians killed between 2000 and 2009, according to a recent report by Transportation for America.

To combat this problem, area cities are adopting a nationwide model called “complete streets” to ensure that all users of our roadways are safe and healthy. Cities like Birmingham and Midfield, along with other communities within Jefferson County, are joining the ranks of other Alabama cities such as Fairhope and Prattville to embark on a journey towards safer streets.

“The complete streets concept is simple: to allow safe access on streets for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and public transportation users of all ages,” said Adam Snyder, executive director of the Conservation Alabama Foundation.

“Designing and building streets with all users in mind increases health and safety, expands economic opportunities for the more than 30 percent of Americans who don’t or can’t drive, and reduces air and water pollution,” Snyder continued.

Complete streets look different in every city or community, but the general elements can include sidewalks, bike lanes or wide paved shoulders, special bus lanes, convenient public transportation stops, numerous and safe crosswalks, median islands, pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes or roundabouts.

As more communities adopt and implement complete streets policies, more citizens will use active transportation modes such as walking and riding their bikes. “Having more complete streets will make it easier for Jefferson County residents to make the healthy choice by walking or biking to work, play, and shop,” said Suzette Harris of the Jefferson County Department of Health.

The Jefferson County Health Action Partnership is a coalition of more than 100 nonprofit organizations working alongside the Jefferson County Department of Health to advance smoke-free policies, reduce tobacco use, encourage physical activity, reduce obesity, expand food access, and improve the overall health of Jefferson County residents.

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