And no city demonstrates this as clearly as Tupelo, Mississippi.
“I’m proud," said Mayor Reed, "of our City Council’s unanimous support of this initiative."
On the very same day, the nearby city of Hernando, MS, passed a similar complete streets policy.
Both mayors have stated that these policies grew directly from what residents wanted.
As Tupelo Senior Planner Renee Ray explains:
The “complete streets” policy will help ensure that the roads we build and repair are safe and convenient for all of the people who are using them. As we build out and redevelop our older commercial areas into walkable, mixed-use destinations, we will create a transportation network that fits the land use our residents want. Our goal is to make sure that we achieve the goals our residents have asked for.
Also on the same day, Mayor Reed--who seeks to make Tupelo the healthiest city in Mississippi--signed a Proclamation in "Support of US DOT's Pedestrian and Bicycle Policy Initiative."
You see, Tupeloans get it. They get that this policy and their complete streets ordinance will lead to a healthier and safer environment, a more active lifestyle, and lower obesity rates. They get that housing and commercial spaces in walkable and bikeable neighborhoods are more valuable. They get that having people out and about--whether biking or walking or riding transit--helps build stronger communities.
And they get that having great schools, parks, jobs, and services within biking and walking distance of thousands of Tupeloans is only useful when local infrastructure makes biking and walking safe.
And if you need any proof that Tupelo gets it, read Paragraph 6 of the Mayor's proclamation:
"WHEREAS, I am pleased to see that the Secretary recognizes the importance of walking and biking, as I do, and as the residents of Tupelo do, and I hope that the Mississippi Department of Transportation and other cities in Mississippi will recognize and support this policy this as well..."
I thank Mayor Reed for his support and for listening to the community of Tupelo. They told him they wanted more walkable neighborhoods and better infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. And he honored their wish.