Dr. Christiaan Abildso, an assistant professor in the West Virginia University School of Public Health’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, was recently appointed to the Complete Streets Advisory Board by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.
This newly created board will be responsible for implementing the Complete Streets Act, or Senate Bill 158 passed in 2013, which centers on improving the state’s transportation infrastructure in terms of safety, access and mobility for all travelers. The Act ensures that approved transportation projects receiving federal or state funds provide reasonable accommodations for all users – from motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, older adults and children to commercial and public transportation vehicles and their passengers.
“We all use streets every day – whether for transportation or recreation, in a wheelchair, on a bike, in a car or bus, or on our own two feet,” Dr. Abildso said. “All streets, regardless of how old we are or how we use them, should be safe for us. Too many roads are designed only for vehicles, however, without regard for other users. They are incomplete.
Dr. Abildso says our streets serve more than just a transportation purpose.
“They provide a place for children to play, a sense of community, a place to congregate, and are a sign of a strong economy,” he said. “Investing in streets in a comprehensive way can attract business, create a sense of place, and allow senior citizens and young children a sense of independence to explore their world when driving is not an option.”
The board will provide recommendations to the WV Division of Highways and to counties and municipalities on updating design guidance, providing educational opportunities and creating new measures to track the success of multimodal planning and design.