This monthly newsletter issued by the National Complete Streets Coalition provides a roundup of news related to Complete Streets policies -- policies to ensure that the entire right of way is routinely designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Please pass it around! And visit www.completestreets.org to stay informed.
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
- Bi-Partisan ‘Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011’ Introduced in U.S. House
- Vermont Governor Signs Comprehensive Complete Streets Law
- Two New Policies in La Crosse County
- Updates from the States
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Quick Takes: Policy Action
- Halfway to Our Goal of $20,000 by the End of June
- Complete Streets Policies Growing Strong
- Coalition Welcomes New and Renewing Partners
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
- Create Active, Healthy Communities with Community Transportation Grants
- More Older Americans Use Public Transportation And More Drivers are 65+
- U.S. Mayors Urge Investment in Transit, Bicycling, and Walking
- Complete Streets Video: It's About More Than Bike Lanes
- Red Wing Writes an Rx for Business: Complete Streets
- Complete Streets Takes Off in Birmingham Region
- First ‘Walk Friendly Communities’ Named
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Designing for the Safety of Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Motorists in Urban Environments
- Free Webinar: NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
- Take the National Walking Survey Today!
- Report on Transit and Access to Jobs
- Federal Grant Opportunities
- Participate in the Re:Streets Design Charrette
- Decade of Action for Road Safety
- Rethinking Suburban Transportation
- Walkable, Verdant Neighborhoods Bring Higher Home Values
- New Resource for Healthy Community Design
- Register Today for the Safe Routes to School Conference
- New Partners for Smart Growth Call for Session Proposals Now Open
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Bi-Partisan ‘Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011’ Introduced in U.S. House
We are pleased to announce that H.R. 1780, the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 was introduced in the House of Representatives on May 5 by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH). This bipartisan bill directs state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to write and adopt Complete Streets policies. H.R. 1780 supports the work of over 200 Complete Streets policies at the local, MPO and state level by ensuring a comprehensive approach across jurisdictions for safe streets for all, regardless of age, ability, or chosen mode of travel. Check out the great things people are saying about the bill. We expect to see a similar bill introduced in the U.S. Senate next week.
Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 1780 by contacting them via our easy online action tool. You’ll be able to customize your letter to include information about why Complete Streets matters to you. And be sure to add your organization to the growing list of groups nationwide that support a federal Complete Streets policy by filling out this quick form. Our federal resources page offers more information on the bill, a sample script to use when calling your representative’s office, and tips for setting up an in-district meeting.
Vermont Governor Signs Comprehensive Complete Streets Law
Governor Peter Shumlin held a public signing ceremony yesterday to herald Vermont’s new comprehensive Complete Streets law. The new law (.pdf), supported by many elected representatives, AARP Vermont, and over 40 organizations across the state, will ensure that all travelers will be considered in all state and municipally managed transportation projects. Well-documented exceptions are allowed where law prohibits a roadway’s use by some mode of transport; where the cost is disproportionate to the need or probable use; and where incorporation of such facilities is outside the scope of the project. The bill includes a ‘fix it first’ provision to encourage maintenance of the existing network. Advocates point to the leadership of Representative Mollie Burke, Representative Patrick Brennan, and Senator Richard Mazza in moving the bill forward.
Two New Policies in La Crosse County
On April 19, La Crosse County became the first in Wisconsin to adopt a Complete Streets policy (.pdf). Unanimously approved by the county board, the new resolution also had support from transportation and public health professionals and advocates. “This policy shows the county is progressive and is moving forward. When reconstructing roads, looking at all modes of transportation is a necessary thing,” said Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain. The Board of Trustees for the Village of West Salem, a community of 4,800 in north central La Crosse County, gave unanimous approval to a detailed Complete Streets policy (.pdf) just a few weeks later. Both efforts were supported by the County’s participation in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.
Updates from the States
- Alabama: Representative Joe Faust (R-Fairhope) introduced a Complete Streets bill, HB342, this spring that has gained support from almost a dozen other representatives. The bill would require the Alabama Department of Transportation to "provide for the consideration of safe travel by all users" in transportation projects using state or federal money. Supported by AARP Alabama and Conservation Alabama, the bill would help communities across the state be healthier, safer, and more livable.
- Missouri: Missouri's legislature approved a resolution (HCR 23) last week urging Complete Streets policy adoption at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. Though it doesn't have the force of law, the newly passed resolution supports current Complete Streets work throughout the state and may set the stage for new initiatives. The resolution had near unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and now awaits Governor Jay Nixon's signature.
- Texas: Complete Streets bills in the state Senate and House (SB 513, HB 1105) have both made it out of committee! This means both can now be considered on the floor of both chambers. Texans who support Complete Streets should contact their Senators today and urge their support. Bike Texas has more information.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Denver, CO: A new Complete Streets Policy (.pdf) was signed by the Manager of Public Works on May 17. The policy establishes a process for Public Works to incorporate all users, of all ages, abilities, and incomes, into the planning, design, and implementation of transportation projects throughout the city.
- Winter Park, FL: Winter Park City Commissioners unanimously agreed to a Complete Streets resolution on May 9. Inspired by a recent visit by Dan Burden, the resolution states “all road projects should be designed to comfortably accommodate all users” and suggests performance measures such as the number of miles of on-street bicycle lanes and routes, linear feet of new sidewalk, and pedestrian crossing improvements. (A draft resolution (.pdf) can be found in the Commission’s May 9 packet.) Winter Park is the first community in central Florida to adopt a Complete Streets policy. (Winter Park/Maitland Observer)
- Holland, MI: On April 20, the City of Holland City Council unanimously passed a Complete Streets Resolution. This is the second community working with the advocates at Disability Network/Lakeshore on Complete Streets issues to formally commit to the approach.
- Breckenridge, MN: Upon the unanimous adoption of its policy (.pdf) last month, Breckinridge became the smallest Minnesota community to commit to Complete Streets. The local State Health Improvement Program initiative sparked interest in the policy that quickly spread to elected officials and transportation professionals.
- Independence, MN: Following up on last April’s resolution, the community of 3,500 in the western Twin Cities metro region adopted a formal policy (.pdf) on Complete Streets in March.
- Waterloo, ON: On April 18, City Council approved a new Transportation Master Plan, and, within it, Canada’s first Complete Streets policy. The Plan represents a major shift in transportation thinking for the community, and calls for fewer new roads and an investment of 7.5 million Canadian dollars to build nearly 100 miles of bike lanes and trails. (Waterloo Region Record)
Quick Takes: Policy Action
This new section of our newsletter will report on how Complete Streets policies are being implemented across the country.
- Lee County, FL: After evaluating all of its resurfacing contracts for opportunities to address the needs of all users, Lee County made improvements on several community roads by narrowing travel lanes, improving crosswalks, and adding new signs.
- Baltimore, MD: Changes to the signal timing along several streets have contradicted the city’s Complete Streets resolution by making it more difficult for pedestrians to cross the road and providing less time to do so. (Baltimore Sun)
- Michigan: The Michigan Complete Streets Advisory Council, mandated by the state’s Complete Streets law enacted last year to advise the State Transportation Commission, county road commissions and municipalities on Complete Streets policies, met for the first time on April 27. The Council, which will meet quarterly, established its structure and voted on topics to discuss at future meetings.
Halfway to Our Goal of $20,000 by the End of June
At the end of April, we reached out to our friends and supporters, asking their help to raise $20,000 by the end of June, the amount we need to continue serving as the resource for advocates and professionals involved in the Complete Streets movement. We are now halfway to our goal, thanks to the immediate response from our friends and supporters. Your help is critical in raising the additional $10,000 needed in the next 6 weeks.
We are delighted to welcome several new Individual Partners, each giving $250. This level is an increasingly popular way to personally contribute and make a difference. If your organization has been considering the various benefits of Partnership, we hope you will help us meet our goal by joining us during May or June.
Please make your gift to National Complete Streets Coalition today so that we can be sure to do all that is necessary to complete America’s streets.
Complete Streets Policies Growing Strong
Late last month, the Coalition released a comprehensive report documenting the rapid growth in Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets Policy Analysis 2010: A story of growing strength (.pdf) analyzes Complete Streets policies adopted through the end of 2010 to se how they match up to the ten elements of an 'ideal' Complete Streets policy and provides dozens of examples of strong language from actual policies adopted communities in all corners of the United States. If you've not yet taken a moment to read through it, please do! This report will help communities seeking to adopt compelling Complete Streets policies better understand how to incorporate the elements of an ideal policy, using examples from their own region or state as models.
Coalition Welcomes New and Renewing Partners
Toole Design Group was one of the earliest partners to join the Complete Streets Coalition, and we’re glad to have them renew at the Silver level. Complete Streets are Toole Design Group’s core expertise – the firm is the prime consultant for the City of Boston’s Complete Streets Design Manual and is playing a key role in Dallas’ Complete Streets Initiative. In addition to their planning projects, Toole Design Group’s engineers practice what they preach on a daily basis, designing streetscapes, road diets, cycle tracks, bike lanes, ADA improvements and intersections that meet the needs of all users.
Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP, a Coalition Silver Partner, has served public agencies for nearly 100 years. WR&A is a 500-person full service, multi-disciplinary engineering and architectural firm that provides planning, design, and construction management services. The firm’s multimodal transportation work has included integrated transportation and land use studies, regional transit plans, statewide bicycle networks, rail stations, bus rapid transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, urban streets, highways, and streetscapes. Recent projects demonstrate the firm’s commitment to Complete Streets: the Middle Branch Transportation Plan in Baltimore and the Wilmington Downtown Circulation Study in Wilmington, Delaware. WR&A’s Jeff Reigner is a trained Complete Streets Workshop Instructor.
At the bronze level, we're happy to have Ball Janik LLP. Founded in 1988 and with professionals located in Washington, DC and the Pacific Northwest, Ball Janik LLP's bipartisan team represents progressive transportation coalitions, business clients, trade associations, and a wide range of municipal, county, and state governments in federal matters involving transportation, natural resources, energy, the environment, defense, tax policy, trade, and federal funding.
Also joining the Coalition as a Bronze Partner is LJB Inc. An Ohio-based firm, LJB provides innovative infrastructure planning and design services in civil and structural engineering, environmental sciences and surveying. LJB focuses on a balanced, sustainable approach that complements the safety goals of a Complete Streets program and meets federal, state, and municipal multi-modal priorities.
Becoming a Complete Streets Partner is easy! Join the Coalition today.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Create Active, Healthy Communities with Community Transportation Grants
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced their latest, and biggest, grant opportunity for communities across the country to invest in strategies that improve public health. The Community Transformation Grants, authorized under the new health care law, will provide at total of $900 million for applicants in up to 75 jurisdictions, tribes, and territories to reduce death and disability by instituting policy, environmental, programmatic, and infrastructure change related to weight, proper nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, and emotional wellbeing and overall mental health. These grants are a great opportunity for communities to ramp up their Complete Streets efforts, from beginning to build partnerships to writing policy to overcoming implementation challenges. The program is similar to Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a program that is already bringing our Complete Streets Workshops and other assistance in policy development and implementation to communities across the country.
Letters of Intent (LOIs) must be received by June 6, and applications are due on July 15. To provide assistance in applying, the CDC is hosting a series of three pre-LOI submission conference calls on May 25 and another series of three post-LOI submission conference calls on June 14.
More Older Americans Use Public Transportation And More Drivers are 65+
Steering Committee member AARP released a report showing a 40% increase in people age 65 and older using public transportation. In the same population, 80% drive a personal vehicle. Complete Streets policies ensure that the increasing number of older adults can continue living in their homes and their communities by providing safe transportation options that allow them to maintain their independence. As AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said, “Making roads safer for older Americans will make them safer for everyone.” AARP also heralded U.S. Representative Altmire’s introduction of the Older Driver and Pedestrian Safety and Roadway Enhancement Act of 2011.
U.S. Mayors Urge Investment in Transit, Bicycling, and Walking
A survey of 176 mayors shows significant support for a new vision in federal transportation funding (.pdf). The overwhelming majority of mayors (93%) want more direct access to federal transportation dollars so that they can invest in maintaining roads and bridges, expanding public transportation, and investing in safe, accessible facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians. Seventy-five percent even said they would support an increase in the gas tax, if it meant more investment in bicycle and pedestrian projects!
Complete Streets Video: It's About More Than Bike Lanes
New York City's Complete Streets approach is celebrated in a new video from Streetfilms.org. Though the treatments highlighted are decidedly urban, they show the diversity in Complete Streets approaches and zero in on the core of the Complete Streets concept: creating streets that satisfy the needs of many users that are appropriate to the community context; streets that not only move people, but also providing increased access to destinations; and enabling vibrant communities that encourage people to live active, healthy lifestyles, regardless of age or ability. The interviews of everyday New Yorkers exemplify the broad base of support for these kinds of changes found in communities of all sizes. The eleven-minute video can be viewed here.
Red Wing Writes an Rx for Business: Complete Streets
Red Wing, Minnesota, a community of about 16,000, faces all-too-common challenge: sprawling development on the edges of town sap the economic vitality out of the city's charming and historic downtown. Hostile traffic on downtown's streets frightened residents who wanted to walk and shop downtown. This pressing economic need, combined with the desires to better connect the city to its picaresque bluffs and promote a healthier, more active citizenry, inspired the community to rally behind Complete Streets. Read more about Red Wing in a guest post from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Jason Frantz.
Complete Streets Takes Off in Birmingham Region
Last month, Jefferson County, Alabama's Health Action Partnership kicked off a new initiative to encourage municipalities to reconsider transportation decisions, learn more about zoning issues for active transportation and access to healthy food, network with their peers in nearby cities, and share their experiences and barriers to developing and implementing active design policies. As part of the Livable Communities Network's launch, seventeen municipalities, as well as representatives from the local transit agency, the state Department of Transportation, AARP, and the business community, participated in a 'Laying the Foundation for Complete Streets' workshop. Much of this work has been made possible through the County’s participation in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.
First ‘Walk Friendly Communities’ Named
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center recognized the first 11 cities in America to earn the new "Walk Friendly" designation. These eleven communities -- most of which had adopted a Complete Streets policy -- have significantly committed to improving walkability and pedestrian safety through new road design policies, encouragement activities, improved accessibility, pedestrian-focused planning efforts, and many other programs and projects. Applications for the next round of Walk-Friendly Communities are due June 15.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Baldwin County, AL: Local non-profit Smart Coast held an 18-mile bike ride to raise awareness of the need for Complete Streets in the region. (BaldwinCountyNow)
- Los Angeles, CA: Jessica Wall, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, notes that the construction of a new light rail in Los Angeles will provide a great opportunity to redesign streets to be safer for all users, improve access to transit, boost public health, and reap environmental benefits.
- Des Plaines, IL: With grant money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Communities Putting Prevention to Work, Des Plaines and several other suburban communities expanding transportation options for their residents. Many are adopting Complete Streets policies. (Des Plaines Patch)
- Kansas City, KS: A news report on Fox 4 highlights the ways residents will benefit from the city's new Complete Streets resolution, including James Miller, who uses a wheelchair, and those looking for ways to be healthier and to save money on gas.
- Ashland, KY: The Healthy Kids/Healthy Communities Coalition has kicked off its Complete Streets efforts with a public presentation and survey. (Ashland Independent)
- Lee's Summit, MO: The Complete Streets advocates in Lee's Summit shared their strategy and success story with the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation as part of their Advocacy 101 series. Their campaign provides a great lesson in building lasting support that advances policy adoption and informs implementation efforts.
- Cayuga County, NY: A movement is growing in upstate New York's Cayuga County to improve transportation, recreation, and nutrition options to create healthier communities. A recent Complete Streets event emphasized the importance of designing and operating streets for all users, regardless of age or ability. (Citizen)
- New York City, NY: Brooklyn Community Board 6, which represents Park Slope and five other borough neighborhoods, unanimously voted to continue improvements to Prospect Park West that began with the installation of a bike lane.
- Helena, MT: As the City updates its subdivision and zoning codes, community members and staff are keeping an eye on how these changes will be aligned with their Complete Streets policy and vision. (Helena Independent Record)
- Bismarck, ND: An editorial in the Bismarck Tribune applauds the city's efforts to develop a Complete Streets approach to its streets. The editorial specifically notes the how many streets were built before the bus system was introduced; instituting a Complete Streets policy would ensure future roadwork would take into account the needs of patrons and buses.
- Memphis, TN: In a letter to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, business owner Pat Brown advocates for more bike lanes and better pedestrian facilities in commercial districts. With a protected bike lane and slower auto traffic outside, more customers have noticed Brown's art gallery.
- Salt Lake City, UT: While in town to facilitate a Complete Streets workshop, Michael Ronkin answered questions about Complete Streets and Sac’s strengths and opportunities in promoting a more multi-modal, accessible transportation network. (City Weekly)
- Toronto, ON: The Complete Streets Forum presented by the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation and the Clean Air Partnership last month brought together transportation officials, advocates, and users to build alliances and learn more about creating safe and accessible streets for all. Not only that, the local group The Geese composed a Complete Streets anthem for the event. (Torontoist)
- Mid-Atlantic Region: The latest edition of Spokes Magazine (.pdf), a regional bicycling magazine, features an interview with National Complete Streets Coalition executive director Barbara McCann.
Designing for the Safety of Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Motorists in Urban Environments
An article in the Journal of the American Planning Association examines the possibility that traffic crashes result from systematic patterns of behavior created by the built environment. Researcher Eric Dumbaugh found that miles of arterial roadways and numbers of four-leg intersections, strip commercial uses, and big box stores were major crash risk factors, while pedestrian-scaled retail was associated with lower crash rates. These findings imply that the traditional approach of creating road designs ‘forgiving’ of motorist error does not work on urban roadways.
Free Webinar: NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
On Wednesday May 25, 3:00 to 4:30 pm EDT, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, will host a free webinar on the newly released Urban Bikeways Design Guide. The guide offers detailed plan drawings, three-dimensional renderings, and pictures of actual projects using state-of-the-practice bikeway design, and can be adopted by municipalities and states throughout the country. Webinar participants will learn best practices in applying the guide to urban traffic situations and will help practitioners become familiar with the contents and functions of the guide. A print version of the guide is now available to download for free.
Take the National Walking Survey Today!
America Walks, a Coalition Steering Committee member, has launched a new online survey to learn more about who walks, and why we walk. Results from the short survey will help walking advocates understand what motivates avid walkers, and what keeps others from walking more. Once the data is analyzed, America Walks will share what they've learned to help promote walking in America. Please fill it out today!
Report on Transit and Access to Jobs
Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America, a new report from the Brookings Institution, reveals the significant transportation challenges facing workers and job applicants. Though 70% of U.S. residents have access to transit, only 30% of jobs are readily accessible to the typical metropolitan commuter. The report offers policy and investment recommendations designed to improve metro area transit. PolicyLink offers additional insight into the obstacles facing workers of color and those who are low income.
Federal Grant Opportunities
The Federal Highway Administration has announced the availability of $422 million in discretionary grant funds from eleven programs. Though usually decided through Congressional earmarks, this year's budget requires an application process and selections will be based on merits. Almost every source can be used for Complete Streets, bicycle, and pedestrian projects. The League of American Bicyclists offers additional helpful information.
Re:Streets Design Charrette
Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Re:Streets is developing innovative solutions to America’s street design challenges. On July 21-23, 2011 professionals selected from both the public and private sectors will gather in Berkeley, California will participate in a multi-day charrette to help develop a new street design manual that considers not just mobility and access, but also issues like social gathering, play and recreation, green infrastructure, urban agriculture, commerce, events and programming, and image and identity. Space in the charrette is filling up fast; register closes on May 31.
Decade of Action for Road Safety
The United Nations launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety campaign on May 11 based on the U.N. General Assembly goal "to stabilize and then reduce forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world" by 2020. To do so could potentially prevent millions of death. The Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 provides an overall framework for activities and indicators to measure progress.
Rethinking Suburban Transportation
A new study reveals that suburbanites in multifamily housing units are not necessarily tied to their cars. Researcher Nico Larco found that people who live in suburban developments with safe places for walking and bicycling travel by foot or bicycle for more than 40% of their trips to local commercial area. This is nearly twice the rate of those living in automobile-dependent, less-connected neighborhoods.
Walkable, Verdant Neighborhoods Bring Higher Home Values
A study of Portland, Oregon neighborhoods examined home prices, number of walkable destinations, and greenery. The study found home prices increased where destinations such as shops, restaurants, work, and home were within walking distance of each other. More street trees, parks, lawns, and other greenery further increased home prices.
New Resource for Healthy Community Design
Public health organizations support good community design that allows people to have healthy behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new community design module within the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network to provide access to information and data from a variety of national, state, and city sources. Complete Streets policies are listed as a prevention measure.
Register Today for the Safe Routes to School Conference
Registration is open for the Safe Routes to School 2011 Conference. The theme of the 3rd conference is Building Connections: Schools + Streets + Communities. Early bird registration rate is available until May 31. The conference will be held in Minneapolis, MN from August 16 to 18.
New Partners for Smart Growth Call for Session Proposals Now Open
The call for session proposals for the 11th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has officially opened. The conference will be held February 2-4, 2012 in San Diego, California. Submittal instructions and an online form are now available on the conference web site. All proposals for breakout sessions, workshops, lightening rounds, trainings, tours, or networking activities must be made via the online form by June 30.
“The Safe and Complete Streets Act moves us closer to achieving some of the nation’s major health goals for communities across America such as reducing obesity, asthma and heart disease. We applaud Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) for introducing this important piece of legislation that focuses on developing healthy communities through smarter planning which encourages physical activity, better access to services and cleaner air.”
– George C. Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association
Read more quotes on the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011.
“Streets should be defined by the local community and the needs of the people they are intended to serve. Our roadways should support the freedom - and the safety and convenience - of choosing whether to travel by car, bike, transit or on foot.”
– Jakob Helmboldt, transportation planner and project manager with VHB Inc.
"For one, gas prices, as everybody’s seen, are almost $4 per gallon. So even taking your bike to work and to the grocery store really adds up after a while."
– Tiffany Adrians, resident of La Crosse, Wisconsin
"It's really a simple concept that goes back to the fundamental belief... if we spend public money, (streets) need to be built in a way that accommodates all members of the public."
– James Moore, owner of Moore's Bicycle Shop in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Thank you to our Partners: