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Completing our streets

PLATTSBURGH - In today's world, roads are typically more vehicle-friendly than they are for cyclists and pedestrians. However, Complete Streets is working to change that.

The Clinton County Health Department will be offering training Wednesday, June 23, on the Complete Streets plan for safer communities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

According to CCHD public information officer Laurie Williams, the health department began focusing on Complete Streets as a way of building a healthier community.

"We're doing it by looking at permanent and sustainable change," said Williams. "Those permanent, sustainable changes are through policy changes, system changes, and built environment changes."

Complete Streets is a part of the built environment change as it can add sidewalks, bike lanes, more crossing opportunities, bus lanes, bus shelters, and more.

"It provides additional opportunities for increased physical activity in our communities, broadening it out so that people and their families can use a roadway," Williams explained. "Roadways are to be shared - by bikers, by pedestrians, by cars."

The training program will provide "planning strategies and basic design and maintenance principles used in pedestrian and bicycle-friendly communities," according to a brochure from Complete Streets. "Participants will also learn how to do a community assessment for walkability and bike-ability."

Although the training program, which is free of charge, is aimed toward local officials, planning board members and council members, Williams said others can attend as well.

"We certainly invite those to this training who have a real interest in biking and making our communities more walkable," she said.

She also realizes it may be a burden for some officials to do the training during the workweek.

"We understand that these are volunteers, but this is very important," Williams said.

"This is an opportunity to be a part of a process in Clinton County to get residents healthier," she added. "To help our residents to be healthier. The more people that learn about it, the more these concepts and these changes become part of the social norm."

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