Growing up I played outside with neighborhood children from sunrise to sunset. We’d ride our bicycles around the block and take walks to the neighborhood pool and park. I remember the sense of safety and connection I felt because I was able to easily navigate my community by bike or foot. I, along with many Kentuckians, want this community connection and sense of safety back for our children, parents, grandparents, and selves.
Complete Streets is a growing movement to design and build streets that enable safe use for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities. The Complete Streets concept aims to make streets safer, more accessible, and easier for everyone to navigate. The benefits of Complete Streets for individuals, families, and neighborhoods include:
- Improved safety
- Increased exercise
- Lower transportation costs for families
- Stronger communities
Several towns and cities in Kentucky have adopted a Complete Streets approach, and communities in Northern Kentucky are ready to do the same. Kentucky Youth Advocates and the Northern Kentucky Health Department have joined forces to promote Complete Streets to stakeholders and officials in Kenton County and Grant County.
In order to help encourage city officials to pass Complete Streets ordinances in their communities, KYA and the Northern Kentucky Health Department organized a field trip to Norton Commons in Prospect, Kentucky.
Norton Commons’ developers guided officials and shared how a community can be designed to include Complete Streets and other elements that make it a great place to live. David Tomes, the developer and visionary of Norton Commons, encourages all who are interested in the concept–not just city officials–to tour the community to see what it has to offer, including parks, shops, restaurants, YMCA, and variety of dwelling options. After the field trip, officials discussed ideas that they could try in their communities.
Thinking back to your childhood, do you remember similar experiences to mine? That sense of community connection and safety for all on the streets has been slowly disappearing from our neighborhoods for many reasons. We hope to regain the strong community ties that are cultivated through the Complete Streets movement.