Louis Agresta, director with Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee, is an advocate of a network that can safely be enjoyed by all users.
“We should strive for a safe network for those walking and biking as well as those who drive. The two are not mutually exclusive. You can have both,” he said. “In the past, planning has leaned in favor of motorists. We can do better.”
He encouraged community members to take the survey by Oct. 21.
“This is the first county wide plan to be developed,” Agresta says. “It’s a draft right now, and we want to be informed by the community before finalizing it.”
Potential changes include the addition of bike lanes, construction of mid-block and enhanced crosswalks as well as improved sidewalks that meet ADA requirements.
Agresta said the system needs to be accessible to all, regardless of economic status, race or ability.
He pointed out owning and driving a car for some is an expense they cannot afford, and he noted others may not want to drive everywhere.
“Younger folks like walking communities. There are also plenty of people who walk because they have to, even in winter. They deserve a safe transportation network as well,” he said.
Increased recreational walking and biking are part of what’s called “active transportation” and are becoming the primary means of transportation for many.
Walkable communities have an appeal for people of all ages, whether it’s children who are walking or biking to school or senior citizens. Agresta notes an “8 to 80″ approach in structuring transportation for the future.
“We have an aging population that we will need to support. Senior citizens want to age in place. It helps if they can walk a half-mile to the store, especially if they can’t drive for some reason,” he said.
Funding is available to help with the cost of implementing changes under consideration.
“We can take advantage of some of the safety funding currently available to achieve our goals. I can’t guarantee the plan can be completely funded, but if we don’t try, nothing will happen,” he said. “If we can commit as a community to making these improvements, I think we can be successful with them.”
Agresta hopes those taking part in the online survey will consider their own experience as a pedestrian, and the experience of others.
“I would love for folks, next time they’re driving down Main Street to put themselves in the shoes of the person they see walking down the sidewalk. Or think about a loved one or someone they know who is in a wheelchair as they take the survey,” he said.
With feedback from the community, the plan will be finalized in early 2023, and funding efforts can begin to transform Clark County transportation into an inclusive network for the future.