New city board charged with making streets safer for Sioux Falls pedestrians and cyclists
The Sioux Falls City Council approved creation of the Active Transportation Board on Tuesday.
Sioux Falls has a new board dedicated to making it safer and easier to get around the city without a car.
The Active Transportation Board will advise the city council and departments on ways to encourage walking and cycling. The board combines three entities that advise on cycling, pedestrian issues and safe routes to school.
The city council gave final approval to the change on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The new group will also have more authority. A host of city business will now require a recommendation from the Active Transportation Board, similar to other areas such as the Planning Commission.
Plus, it will have the ability to advocate directly on topics related to safety and accessibility.
That includes projects in the capital improvement plan and operating budget, as well as improvements to intersections, trails and streets.
The panel also will have input on any Complete Streets design review. The city’s Complete Streets policy is intended to consider active transportation when planning roadway projects. The inclusion of the Active Transportation Board allows for an increased level of advocacy earlier in the process.
“I hope as we go forward and we look at putting citizens on the board, we look for people that are passionate about the subject, who challenge the status quo and bring new ideas,” Councilor Greg Neitzert said.
The panel will have nine members, including seven appointed by the mayor, which must be approved by the city council. It will be chaired by staff from the Department of Planning and Development Services and include a member from the Department of Public Works.
Chrissy Meyer, currently a member of PATH, the safe routes to school committee, said the combined group has the ability to make the community more livable and connect people to their neighbors.
“Working together we can help make it safe for people to share the road with cars and trucks,” Meyer said. “We can advocate for sidewalks that connect to parks, public transportation and schools. Roads that include designated and protected bike lanes and streets that accommodate all people. We can help our citizens safely be active and improve our quality of life.”
Active transportation also improves the overall health of the community, she said.
Neighborhoods that lack good routes to nearby parks and schools often have higher rates of chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease, she said.
“ We must make up for years of lost opportunities to make these neighborhoods a priority moving forward,” she said.
The new policy will take 20 days to take effect. After that, the city will begin the process of finding citizens interested in service on the Active Transportation Board.