GrowSmart Maine Testifies in Favor of LD 403, “Resolve, To Establish a Task Force on the Establishment of So called Complete Streets Design Guidelines”

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in favor of LD 403,
“Resolve, To Establish a Task Force on the Establishment of So called
Complete Streets Design Guidelines”
March 22, 2013

Senator Mazurek, Representative Theriault and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation.  My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places. I regret that previously scheduled commitments prevent me or other GrowSmart Maine representatives from presenting this testimony at today’s Public Hearing.

As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well-grounded proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description.

Complete Streets are sound financial investments in our communities that provide long-term benefits from investments. An existing transportation budget can incorporate Complete Streets projects with little to no additional funding, through re-prioritizing projects & allocating funds to projects that improve overall mobility.  Many of the ways to create more complete roadways are low cost, fast to implement, and make an immediate difference. According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, building sidewalks and striping bike lanes have been shown to create more jobs than traditional car-focused transportation projects.

While the MDOT has been a leader nationally in the amount of federal funds allocated for biking and walking projects and programs and is generous in its cost sharing with towns that want biking and walking infrastructure, there is much more that can be done.  Many road projects are planned, designed and built in the way that puts fast-moving or parked cars as the highest or even the only priority.  

Looking at each transportation investment in a way that considers all future users, land use and livability should be the rule rather than the exception.

Thank you for the opportunity to present these remarks.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding GrowSmart Maine’s support for LD 403.