Dougherty County commissioners are considering a new program that could help increase property values and improve community health.
Albany-Dougherty Planning Director Paul Forgey discussed a Complete Streets program with the commission at its Monday meeting.
If the county adopts the program, it would dictate that whenever streets are being built or improved, such as through resurfacing, that they make sure the roads are usable for all modes of transportation, including bikes and pedestrians. For example, the county would consider if a new street should have sidewalks and bike paths. However, that would not preclude bike-only or sidewalk-only projects.
Forgey said these changes encourage healthy lifestyles.
“Even if you wanted to walk to the store or to work, sometimes there’s no safe way to do that, or there’s no feasible route for you to get from your house to work. So it can help improve health by allowing people the option of walking or riding their bikes,” he said.
He also added that the program could have economic benefits.
“It makes the community a place that people want to live and people want to move to, so it’s an amenity for the community that attracts businesses, that attracts new people,” Forgey said. “It keeps people living in Albany and Dougherty County because it makes it a nicer place.”
Forgey said he will next put together a policy for the county to evaluate and vote on at a later meeting. If it’s approved, he said it could be another couple months before the program is implemented. He added that the City of Albany had discussed a similar program, but not in an official meeting format.