Complete Streets backers work to leverage half a loaf
June 24, 2013
Complete Streets legislation, enacted as Nevada law in concept but lacking crucial administrative funds, remains a priority for supporters.
Two leaders for Muscle Powered of Carson City said the law was watered down because of a lack of funds so the Department of Motor Vehicles could proceed, but they were glad AB145 is becoming law. It allows groundwork to be laid for a push to make streets safe and accessible for bicycles, walkers and public transit.
Anne Macquarie, founder of Muscle Powered, couldn't conceal her disappointment despite getting part of the program passed.
"It really leaves it up in the air," said Macquarie, though she hastened to add there is value in getting a statute on the Silver State books that recognizes the concept makes sense.
The hang-up, she said, is the lack of funding to make computer changes allowing motor vehicle officials to administer the plan to allow for a voluntary checkoff donation that would go to local jurisdictions. The money would finance complete streets projects. Federal transportation-alternatives match money is available to leverage local funds.
The bill as introduced called for a $2 optional donation on vehicle registrations.
"I thought (AB145) was too watered-down because it puts the actual implementation of 'Complete Streets' off," Macquarie said. Consequently, she added, her group and others in a statewide coalition backing the initiative will push for the program's computerization financing in the next session.
Macquarie, whose earlier accomplishments through Muscle Powered included a multi-use path in Nevada Department of Transportation plans for Carson City's freeway bypass, is a walker and bicyclist advocating complete streets. She said she does so because they aren't biased toward autos and trucks, making public transit and non-motorized alternatives safe and easy.
Donna Inversin, Muscle Powered president, agreed with Macquarie that AB145 "was kind of watered down" but acknowledged passage as a partial victory.
She referred questions about the legislative push for complete streets to Macquarie, talking instead of local efforts by the organization to focus attention on the city's trails and cycling movement.
Inversin said Muscle Powered intends to hold a bicycle "show 'n' shine" event this summer in conjunction with a Saturday farmers market downtown to promote cycling. Her remarks keyed off last weekend's vehicular equivalent, the "show 'n' shine" facet of the Legends of the West event downtown.
That event featured both car-truck and motorcycle "show 'n' shine" options for the curious.