Greenwood becomes first Mississippi Delta city to pass Complete Streets Policy

GREENWOOD – In a special meeting on March 29, 2012, the Greenwood City Council passed a resolution to adopt a complete streets policy for the City of Greenwood. The adoption of a complete streets policy was a recommendation made in the Greenwood Comprehensive Plan that was adopted by the City Council in October 2010. The policy’s passage is also part of an ongoing effort to become one of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Healthy Hometowns.

Greenwood, a Mississippi Delta city of 15,000 residents, joins other Mississippi cities, including Columbus, Hernando, Oxford, Pascagoula, and Tupelo, in adopting a complete streets policy. The policy is part of a larger effort to make the city safer and healthier, thereby increasing Greenwood’s quality of life, said Mayor Carolyn McAdams, shortly after the resolution was passed.

City of Greenwood leaders promote healthy communities at the Mississippi Municipal League 5K in Biloxi. From left: Councilman Charles McCoy, Mayor Carolyn McAdams, City Clerk Nick Joseph, and CAO Thomas Gregory

“Although the city has been practicing complete streets principles on transportation projects that the city has undertaken since I’ve been mayor, we haven’t had a written policy to guide our efforts until now,” said McAdams. “With a complete streets policy in place, the City of Greenwood will continue to plan for bicycle and pedestrian access on all future transportation projects.”

Greenwood’s new complete streets policy states that pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit users all have equal access to city streets, a finding backed by state law which states that cyclists can’t be prohibited from use of streets, even if they are congested. It promotes the use of sidewalks, bikeways, and linear parks, as well as crosswalks, on-street parking, street trees, and proper signage as a means of accommodating all modes of transportation.

Thomas Gregory, the city’s chief administrative officer, said that even though the policy doesn’t mandate the installation of designated bike lanes, it does allow cyclists to enjoy the use of city streets along with motorists and pedestrians.

“We hope that the complete streets policy will increase awareness that Greenwood is a bike- and pedestrian-friendly community,” Gregory said. “We’ve made great efforts over the past few years to raise awareness and increase accessibility for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Other bike and pedestrian projects undertaken by the City of Greenwood since McAdams has been in office include the installation of bike racks in downtown Greenwood, the stenciling of sharrows and the installation of “Share the Road” signage on busy thoroughfares, construction of new sidewalks along city streets and walking paths at city parks, and promotion of events like Bikes, Blues & Bayous, the 300 Oaks Road Race, and this weekend’s Viking Half Marathon & 5K.

Mayor McAdams said she hopes the passage of the complete streets policy will clearly demonstrate the City of Greenwood’s emphasis on health and fitness by officially acknowledging the needs of the growing number of bicyclists and pedestrians in the Greenwood community.

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