The House Committee on Municipal Government will be hearing testimony regarding a Complete Streets bill (H7352). This legislation would update the existing state law to more solidly define complete streets and require reporting from RIDOT to elected officials. The committee hearing is open to the public and all are welcome to come and testify.
The committee meeting will be held in Room 203 of the State House, with the committee agenda starting sometime after the approximately 4:30pm end of the general session.
Currently, RIDOT is governed by Title 31, Chapter 18, Section 21 which requires considering the needs of pedestrians and bicycle users in specific road projects. The existing law says that DOT should consider accommodations, but are not required to install or make any adjustments to a road plan if it would increase the cost of a project beyond available financing. Originally enacted in 1997, it stands as one of the first laws of its kind in the United States.
The new bill is more binding, as it encompasses all state offices that build public ways and lays out a list of amenities and accommodations deemed beneficial to pedestrians and bicycle users. It would also expand the applicability of this design consideration to all roads projects that use State or Federal monies for construction. However, it still allows for situation specific designs for all projects, such that bike lanes in rural areas or low speed/low volume roads are not mandated.
RI Bike Coalition is working with other advocates and supports the passage of this bill and thanks Rep. Peter Martin for sponsoring.