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Friday, September 21, 2012 - 9:54am

New Georgia Policy Completes Streets

Georgia transportation officials are adopting a plan to keep bikers and pedestrians in mind when they build roads.

The Georgia Department of Transportation Board this week approved a so-called "Complete Streets" policy aimed at making highways safer for all users on Georgia roads.

Road-builders will have to put in sidewalks and bike paths when they build roads under "Complete Streets."

The mandate doesn't apply to all roads.

"Complete Streets" sets guidelines according to a road's size, location and traffic flow.

Sally Flocks of Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety says roads aren't always engineered for everyone.

"'Complete Streets' would say that roads should serve everybody," Flocks says. "They should work for transit. They should work for walking. They should work for bicycles and automobiles."

Rebecca Serna of the Atlanta Bike Coalition says several Georgia cities and other states already have the policy.

"For bicyclists, 'Complete Streets' are absolutely essential because we lack a safe and integrated network of bicycle facilities," Serna says. "Georgia Bikes and the University of Georgia conducted a study that said that 8 out of 10 Georgians would ride a bicycle and would walk if they had safe and convienent facilities."

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jill Goldberg says the policy will not put more strain on road budgets.

"We already have been doing this to some degree but not as a policy," Goldberg says. "This just ensures that, each time it's appropriate, we'll do it as part of our design process from the very beginning of the process."

Serna says the new policy adopts guidelines from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.