Closing the Gap between Policy and Practice
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City council members may consider a complete streets policy proposal during a hearing in their oak-paneled council chamber, as they sit in a row at their curved dais.. Residents may line up to speak into microphones about the safety of their children on the way to school and the grandmother who has trouble crossing the street. Others may express concern about the cost of new facilities or traffic congestion. Planners and engineers from the city staff may be called upon to deliver a PowerPoint presentation; they may contrast photos of barren, car-filled streetscapes with images of inviting, leafy green boulevards filled with people on foot and bicycle. The vote may be dramatic and close, with a raising of hands; it may be no more than a clerk reading off the measure, quick unanimous ayes, and a final gavel. Local TV, newspapers, and blogs will report on the community’s new commitment to ensuring that future street projects are built to be safe for everyone. Advocates will cheer and celebrate, seeing the payoff from months of fact finding and coalition building.