Our challenge is to work with those who champion reform — citizens, far-sighted state transportation officials, and national leadership organizations — to accelerate the adoption of context-sensitive design by states.
In this sample legislation, citizens can advocate for context-sensitive design through their state legislatures. State legislators can accelerate reform in highway design by promoting context-sensitive design and, where needed, by adopting legislation that requires that every road project in their state will (a) fully involve citizens who are affected by the design or re-design of that road; and (b) reflect sensitivity to the environment, to aesthetics and to the character of a place.
Legislators need to be aware of the efforts, if any, underway in their departments of transportation (DOTs) to incorporate context-sensitive design and find ways to support this progress.
Model State Law to Foster Context-Sensitive Highway Design on America’s State and Local Roads and Streets
Scenic America proposes that states adopt model language to foster context-sensitive highway design on state and local roads and streets throughout the nation. We have taken language from both Connecticut Public Act No. 98-118, and from Section 304 of the National Highway System Act of 1995, adding some original text to make clear the legislative intent.
PUBLIC ACT NO. _______
AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATIVE DESIGN CRITERIA FOR ROADS AND BRIDGES
It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the highest quality design to ensure that road and bridge projects adequately meet our transportation needs, exist in harmony with their surroundings, and add lasting value to the communities they serve.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
a) On or before ______date_______ , the Commissioner of Transportation shall establish new design criteria to govern new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, or rehabilitation of bridges, principal and minor arterial roads, collector roads and local roads and streets. The criteria shall take into account:
1) safety, durability, and economy of maintenance;
2) the constructed and natural environment of the area;
3) the environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and preservation impacts of the activity; and
4) access for other modes of transportation, including those that promote physically active communities.
b) In establishing the criteria required under subsection (a) of this section, the Commissioner shall solicit and consider the views of chief elected officials
and organizations including, but not limited to: those with expertise in environmental protection, historic preservation, scenic conservation, bicycle and
pedestrian transportation, as well as regional councils of governments, rural development councils, the state council on the arts, the Federal Highway
Administration and (add other categories as appropriate)