Falmouth Transportation Management and the Falmouth Bicycle and Pedestrian committees want the select board to host a Complete Streets summit.
“Maybe we should ask the selectmen simply to convene a meeting of the town planner, planning board, bicycle and pedestrian committee, transportation management committee, town engineer and DPW specifically to discuss Complete Streets and how we are going to do this,” transportation management committee chairman Edward J. DeWitt said at the committee’s meeting last week.
Overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Complete Streets are those that provide safe and accessible options for all travel modes, including walking, biking, transit and vehicles, and for people of all ages and abilities. Towns in the Complete Streets program are eligible for state funding for the planning and construction of roadway-related projects.
Describing it as “an awesome idea,” committee member Jane F. Perry said it would be valuable to bring all local stakeholders to the table to discuss the future of Complete Streets in town.
“I think if we start trying to chip away at this problem, we might see light at the end of the tunnel,” Ms. Perry said.
The bicycle and pedestrian committee further discussed the idea of a summit on Wednesday last week, September 2.
“There needs to be a process for the town to begin to initiate a discussion about how and where we should do some planning around Complete Streets,” said Chris McGuire, who serves on both committees.
The summit would be that starting point. Creating a “big tent” would bring public input into the process early, allowing various committees and officials to share their thoughts on Complete Streets, he said.
“It would begin a town-wide dialogue about Complete Streets, and avoid having the town planner and two other people just decide what we’re going to do and have a big backlash later,” Mr. McGuire said. “Why don’t we just open up the big tent first and figure out what people think, then start to move forward?”
Members of the bicycle and pedestrian committee supported the concept.
“My interest in having this Complete Streets summit sooner rather than later is one, the town has adopted Complete Streets,” committee chairman Scott R. Lindell said. “Two, it has been awarded $50,000 from the state to go through the planning process and engage the Cape Cod Commission. It would be a shame to waste that opportunity to have this done behind closed doors, in small meetings, when we have this opportunity to convene by Zoom and build a bigger tent.”
Committee member Pamela Rothstein said the COVID-19 pandemic might benefit the summit, as a number of cyclists are interested in improving bicycle access and infrastructure in town. They might be encouraged to attend such a Zoom meeting to provide their input, she said.
“I think that would be a terrific way to educate and get community input and buy-in and traction with this,” Ms. Rothstein said.