Holyoke Becomes First Community in WMass. to Adopt “Complete Streets” Ordinance

The City of Holyoke has adopted Complete Streets ordinance, making it the first community in Western Massachusetts and the second community in the Commonwealth to adopt an ordinance of its kind.   Drafted by the members of the Holyoke Bike/Pedestrian Committee, the ordinance was designed to promote a connected network of right-of-way facilities accommodating all modes of travel to the maximum practical extent, while recognizing that not all streets will be able to accommodate the needs of all users equally.

“By establishing an ordinance that is the first of its kind in Western Mass, Holyoke is reaffirming its commitment to sustainable forms of transportation and travel,” Mayor Alex Morse said. “This ordinance is another step towards creating a walkable downtown, fulfilling objectives outlined in Holyoke’s Master Plan, Center City Vision Plan, and the Urban Renewal Plan, and I thank all of those who played a part in making this happen.”

“Complete Streets” are streets designed and operated to enable safe access, along and across a street, for all users of all ages and abilities; including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users. The City of Somerville was the first in the Commonwealth to pass a Complete Streets ordinance, making Holyoke the first community in Western Massachusetts.

State Representative Aaron Vega, also a member of the Bicycling and Pedestrian Committee, commented: “I would like to thank the Ordinance Committee and all the council members for approving our Complete Street ordinance. This will put us in line for State Grants and other funding for bike paths, complete street design and repair as well as other transportation projects.”

“Establishing a Complete Streets ordinance is unique in that it ensures that future projects are planned and designed to meet the needs of every community member, regardless of their mode of transportation,” Senior Planner Claire Ricker said. “With a collaborative effort and input from the Fire Department, DPW, and members of the community, we were able to draft an ordinance that will work best for Holyoke for years to come.”

The Bicycling and Pedestrian Committee was recently established this past November and is comprised of City officials, elected representatives and community members.  Members include:

Co-Chair: Claire Ricker, Senior Planner
Co-Chair: Sean Condon, Community Representative
Aaron Vega, State Representative
Rebecca Lisi, City Councilor at-Large
Jossie Valentin, Ward 4 City Councilor
Matthew Sokop, City Engineer
Katie Gallagher, Board of Health
Nilka Ortiz, Mayor’s Office
Nancy Howard, Food & Fitness Policy Council
Chris Butler, Fire Department
Jennifer Gilburg, Holyoke YMCA

The purpose of the Committee is to advise and provide recommendations to the City Council on bicycle and pedestrian safety issues, provide a forum for residents and community organizations to raise these safety concerns, and eventually make recommendations for a City-wide bicycle plan.