What’s the main function of a street? A popular answer for people could be “to get cars from Point A to Point B efficiently and safely.” Although that may be a good answer, some local residents would say that it’s also incomplete; the way people think about streets shouldn’t just be in regard to cars.
Valley Stream Complete Streets is a proposal that is currently being worked on by local residents Joanne Antun, Tim Lines, Ted Orosz and David Sabatino. Village Trustee Vincent Grasso initially brought Antun, the former mayor, and Sabatino, president of Envision Valley Stream, together about a year and a half ago, and they began reaching out to others and working on the Complete Streets proposal.
“Complete Streets looks at it as how does this road serve all the users,” Sabatino said, “meaning cars, mass transit, bicyclists, pedestrians, disabled people and users of all ages and abilities.”
Sabatino said that not every road in Valley Stream would have to be a “Complete Street.” It would focus more on busier roads, including those by train stations, businesses and schools.
“It’s important to encourage people to feel safe and to invite them to walk, ride, use mass transit, or even have a safer, more enjoyable car ride than what they currently have,” Sabatino said.
According to Orosz, Valley Stream already has plenty of ways for people to get around other ways than by using a car, but there’s not much cycling or walking to get around the village as of now.
“The sidewalks are there, the parks are there” Orosz said. “There are ways to complete these trips on foot, or on bike, on a skateboard, or whatever. The infrastructure is there, it’s just about getting people to think about using it.”
Some of the features of a Complete Street are bike lanes, better marked crosswalks, pedestrian islands in the middle and road strips, which alert drivers about a reduction in the speed limit.
One aspect of the proposal is a green component that looks at areas where pavement and concrete can be removed and replaced with grass and other plantings. Sabatino said adding more greenery helps with storm water management, trapping litter before it gets into roadways and making areas look more attractive.
The group also looked at the 2010 census numbers and saw that 71 percent of households with a 11580 zip code have a person that is either older than 65 or younger than 19, which is who a Complete Street would benefit most, Sabatino said.
A Facebook page was created in order to gain feedback from residents. People can make recommendations and submit ideas, questions or criticism about the proposal at www.Facebook.com/Valley Stream Complete Streets. Once resident feedback is collected, the group will create formal proposals to present to the village board. Sabatino said he envisions the proposals being funded through the village’s road repair program or supplemented by financing from state and federal levels.