Event Aims to Teach Community About Complete Streets

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AMES, Iowa –With a growing population and a desire to live healthier lives, people in Ames are working together to make it easier for you to get around town without your car.

A Grassroots called Healthiest Ames will host an event Sunday, September 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. in downtown Ames. It’s called Healthy Streets, and the purpose is to show what a complete street concept is.

"It's really a system that tries to connect the network together. Complete streets works on actually getting back onto streets, which includes bike lanes, protective lanes, pedestrian walkways, widening sidewalks, just changing the culture of how to use streets," said Carl Rogers, Co-Director of the Iowa State University Design Lab.

Healthiest Ames teamed up with the Iowa State University Design Lab and the Ames Bicycle Coalition to work on making the community friendlier for bicyclists and walkers.

Dan Degeest with Ames Bicycle Coalition said, “What we really have a problem with in Ames is sort of gaps in our bicycle infrastructure and our network. So, there are some areas of Ames that are really good for bicycling. And, you'll find yourself in some areas that are not so good."

The Iowa State University Design Lab is studying the trails and transportation plan to design a complete Street policy. Rogers said, “I think we’ve walked every trail in Ames and see where it connects to a street, connects to a river way, connects to a park, so we’re really trying to view the city in another way.”

Healthiest Ames wants to show people how it will work. The group will shut down six blocks downtown to demonstrate compete streets, along with offering activities like Zumba and yoga.

Healthiest Ames Communications Intern Tessa Allred said, “It’s kind of a wide opportunity to get some knowledge about complete streets, and also have the opportunity to try a new activity, maybe leave encouraged to incorporate that as a part of their daily lives.”

Degeest hopes people check out the event Sunday and gives cycling a try. "Having more people on bicycles would be great for some of the congestion we're seeing, especially around campus itself. So, the complete streets would really aid in that," he said.