UNIVERSITY CITY • University City streets are no longer officially just for cars and trucks. Under a "complete/livable streets" policy adopted by the City Council, the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users and public transit patrons must now be considered by planners proposing transportation development projects in the city.
"It's a question of how you think about things before you build them," said Councilman Stephen Kraft before the council approved the policy Monday night.
"We want to pay attention to all modes of transportation, not just by automobile," said resident Margaret K. Johnson, who co-chaired the city's bicyclist and pedestrian task force that two years ago recommended adoption of a streets policy
The measure was opposed by Councilwoman Paulette Carr, who said she feared that the policy might be interpreted as a mandate which would drive up the cost of street and sidewalk projects.
"We are not a wealthy city," Carr said. "It may obligate us to spend money that we don't have and won't have in the future."
Carr also said that numerous elderly city residents depend on the automobile for transportation and that the city should remain automobile-friendly.
Kraft responded by saying that the complete streets policy means only that "cars just won't get the only and final say" in transportation planning, and that costs would not necessarily increase.
"Good design doesn't cost more," Kraft added.