Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Complete Streets Bill Introduced in Legislature

With the active support of some 45 partner organizations around the state, AARP Vermont is leading a campaign to pass Complete Streets legislation that will improve safety and access for pedestrians and other users of Vermont roadways.  H.198 was introduced earlier this month, and would change transportation policy to ensure that the needs of all users – older drivers, bicyclists, transit riders, and people of all ages and abilities – are considered and accommodated in state and locally managed transportation projects.
Complete Streets is a key element of AARP’s transportation policy agenda because it provides older people with a variety of options for getting around. We know that Vermont is getting older – by 2030 the number of people 65 and older will almost double to about 25% of the population.
Research shows that as people age they drive less or stop driving all together. According to national research one in eight persons 50 or older and one in five persons 65 and older do not drive. Non-drivers make less than half the number of trips made by drivers and are six times as likely as drivers to frequently or occasionally miss doing something because they don’t have transportation.
When it comes to walking, 2 in 5 Americans age 50+ say their neighborhood sidewalks are inadequate.  Nearly half cannot cross main roads close to their home safely, preventing many from walking, cycling or taking the bus.
Despite our aging population and the need to provide more transportation options, two-thirds of transportation planners and engineers say they have yet to begin addressing older people in their street planning.
It is important that we take action now, according to Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, Associate State Director of AARP Vermont. “Vermont’s population is older than most and as people get older they drive less or hang up the keys altogether,” she said. “This life change can mean a lower quality of life, less independence and isolation if alternative ways of getting around are not available.”
We need your help to pass the Complete Streets bill! Burlington Representatives Johanna Donovan, Jason Lorber, Chris Pearson, Kesha Ram, Rachel Weston, Suzi Wizowaty, and Kurt Wright are co-sponsors of the bill. Please thank them for their support of this bill and encourage otherlegislators to join them in support of Complete Streets.

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