City Council 2017 Candidates: Lou Braatz III

Do you support the Complete Streets initiative for Lincoln? If so, to what degree do you prioritize the development of Complete Streets and the improvement of Lincoln’s bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure?

The City of Lincoln’s Complete Streets Initiative is one that I support. We can see that more residents are moving away from automobiles as their primary transport, so we should be planning for/ implementing the changes necessary to facilitate all travelers in our town.

Unfortunately this issue has become another political football, as evidenced during the LRTP discussions in the winter of 2016. Elected officials took liberties with the numbers. Some tried to paint a picture that in the City’s attempt to enhance non-automobile means of getting around, the plan was taking away money from road maintenance. This was far from the truth, and was addressed by our campaign at the time. ( )

To look at specifics; we agree that gaps should be recognized and recorded as they are currently. (Latest report: ) Identifying the “problem” areas is only the first step. We must look to expedite the processes in fixing sidewalks, maintaining bike paths, and making sure that StarTRAN stops are in all-accessible areas. We must go forward with attempting accurate counts of how many residents are using our trail systems with an additional mobile counter. We must look at how we can put some of our roads on a diet, while also ensuring adequate street conditions. One idea we’ve heard has been finding the main areas commuters come into Lincoln, putting parking lots/garages in those areas, and having StarTRAN shuttles in much the same way as the Big Red Express. Finally, we need to continue to show support to our cycling community which is one of the best in the nation.
So how do we pay for all of this? Currently, there are numerous federal grant opportunities through the Transportation Alternatives Program, the Recreational Trails Program, the Surface Transportation Program, and the FTA’s State of Good Repair Program. Each of these has some type of state/local fund matching, an idea that makes us as a City partially responsible for lessening our own climate footprint.

By embracing all methods of moving around Lincoln, numerous studies show that not only will we see a positive ecological impact but an economic one as well. Of course, these plans will have bumps in the road, but if we work together to bring Lincolnites into the conversation I am convinced that our residents will see the long term positive of embracing, not shunning, alternative means of transportation.

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