Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 2, 2014

Peru street program ranks as one of best in nation

Coalition says city has detailed, long-term plan.

By Carson Gerber Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — PERU – A national non-profit group says Peru’s program to develop safe, well-maintained streets is one of the best in the country.

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of the non-profit Smart Growth America, has ranked the city second in the country for its Complete Streets program, which city council adopted in November.

Complete Streets policies formalize a community’s goal to have streets that are safe for all types of users of all ages and abilities, according to the coalition’s website.

Policies direct decision-makers to consistently fund, plan for, design, construct, operate and maintain community streets to accommodate people walking, bicycling, taking public transportation and driving cars, as well as commercial vehicles.

More than 80 communities adopted Complete Streets programs last year, including Peru. Nationwide, a total of 610 jurisdictions now have Complete Streets policies in place.

Peru’s program details aspects of developing more accessible streets such as connectivity, planning, design and implementation. The city is also developing a measurement system to gauge the performance of the program and its policies.

Peru Mayor Jim Walker said he was surprised to learn the city’s plan was named one of the best in the nation.

“We just submitted our plan and, lo and behold, we were named the second-best program in the country,” he said.

Walker said the city has been working for years to upgrade streets and sidewalks, but adopting the Complete Streets program will help create a long-term vision for improving the city’s transportation infrastructure.

The first project to be completed within the program’s guidelines will be on Logan Street, which leads to Peru High School and Dukes Memorial Hospital.

Walker said the city will rehabilitate the street with new asphalt, install new sidewalks and a bike lane and improve lighting.

With future street projects, he said the city can improve public safety and the chance for economic development.

“It’s good for current residents and businesses, as well as for people and other businesses who are thinking of moving here,” Walker said. “It has a lot of benefits.”

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.