We have exciting news! Back in September I wrote to you about how Columbia’s Complete Streets policy is dangerously out of date. This policy determines what streets look like: driving lane widths, sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, etc. Columbia’s policy hasn’t been updated since 2004, and for years PedNet has been sounding the alarm.
The solution is an equity-focused Complete Streets policy. We knew that to do it right, updating the policy would be a massive undertaking, with extensive community input from the people whom the current transportation system places at the highest risk: Black and low-income families, kids, older adults, people with disabilities, and people walking or biking. This caliber of policy has never been attempted in Missouri.
We knew that it would take years of our team’s attention and expertise to coordinate the community engagement, research street design, develop the policy, and advocate for its adoption. We knew we would need significant funding before we could launch a campaign of this scale. We first wrote up the Complete Streets campaign idea as a grant proposal in 2016. It wasn’t funded, so we wrote it up for another funder in 2017. And 2018. And 2019. And in 2020, we were funded.
PedNet was awarded a $373,000 grant over 2 years. This is our largest grant in over a decade, and will be our most significant campaign since the original Complete Streets policy back in 2004.
But grant awards like this are a double-edged sword. The funding is significant – but incomplete. Grants almost never cover your full costs, which means we have to raise money to cover the true costs of the project. For this campaign, we need to raise $27,562 just to break even.
The new Complete Streets policy will revolutionize Columbia’s city streets. It will mean Black and low-income families can get to grocery stores and healthcare, fewer kids and people with disabilities will be killed in traffic crashes, and all of us will have safe places to walk and bike.
But we can’t do it without your help. You’ve supported PedNet in advocating for trails, hosting Bike, Walk & Wheel Week, and taking people out for joyrides on our Giving Rides bike. Now we need your help with something even bigger.
Will you stand beside us as we attempt to bring about the most significant change to Columbia’s streets in decades?