The City of Pryor Creek, Oklahoma recently became the first city in the state to approve a Complete Streets ordinance with the unanimous approval of Ordinance No. 2016-01.
Pryor, where more than 16% of the population is Cherokee Indian, has worked closely with the Cherokee Nation to address childhood obesity, and hoped to strengthen its Complete Streets policies as a strategy to ensure that community members could safely walk, bicycle, and be active on the streets. The Safe Routes Partnership provided technical assistance to Pryor to help shape and support the Complete Streets ordinance from October 2014 to June 2015.
Pryor celebrates a Complete Streets ordinance that will help kids safely walk to school.
The Safe Routes Partnership worked closely with Doug Moore, who works in the Community Development department for the City of Pryor Creek. Under the Cherokee Nation and Doug’s leadership, the City was a strong advocate for bicycling and walking and had engaged in Safe Routes to School programming and youth engagement activities such as walking school buses. The City felt that a Complete Streets ordinance would be an added component to a healthier community.
The overall goals for the campaign were as follows:
- To improve walk- and bike-ability throughout the community by enhancing or creating connections between neighborhoods, schools, parks, commercial areas and employment centers in hopes of creating an alternate “active” transportation system.
- To improve safety and awareness of safety for pedestrians and bikers. Students and parents will not walk or bike if they do not feel safe, and families should understand the truth about the risks and what they can do to help to protect themselves.
- To create enjoyable experiences. Enjoy the ride!
- Improve community health. The rates of childhood and adult obesity have grown to epidemic proportions. Pryor hopes to fight this epidemic by providing convenient, safe, and enjoyable alternatives.
- Increase awareness. Pryor wants community members to know about and to understand what impacts their daily choices have on their lives and the lives of their children, not just today, but also in the future.
During monthly calls with the Pryor team, the Safe Routes Partnership reviewed the current Complete Streets policy and provided recommendations for strengthening it into a policy to be adopted by the City Council, providing sample Complete Streets ordinances from across the country to help guide Pryor’s efforts. Safe Routes Partnership staff helped strategize ways to incorporate business owners into the Complete Streets discourse and provided talking points for a presentation that the Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce requested. Pryor continues to work to get additional buy in and support for a complete streets policy. Ultimately, the city used language based on ChangeLab Solution’s model Complete Streets ordinance to draft a policy that would fit the needs of Pryor. Stakeholders also worked to ensure that the ordinance had support of the mayor, city officials and local businesses which led to the unanimously adopted by the City Council in 2016.
"Pryor is really moving now!" said Doug Moore after the ordinance was passed.
The Cherokee Nation and City of Pryor Creek have passed multiple initiatives and ordinances to improve the health and well being of its community members. Pryor has been recognized as the Most Innovative City for advancing initiatives such as a Leader in Me program in Pryor Public Schools to planned country bike trails. The Character Education Partnership has recognized Pryor Public Schools’ Walking Wednesday program as a Promising Practice in Character Education.
Complete Streets will benefit the walking school bus in Pryor.
The following groups and organizations also played a key role in the passage of the Complete Streets ordinance:
- Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Healthy Nation
- Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Trust
- Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce
- Safe Route to School Safe Routes Partnership
- Pryor Public Schools
- Pryor High School Leadership Students
- Pryor Bicycle Pedestrian Task Force
- Dan Burden and WALC Institute
- Mayes County HOPE Coalition
- MidAmerica Industrial Park
- Grand River Dam Authority
- Mayes County Commissioners