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Smart Growth America

The Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017

For the last month, we’ve been profiling one exemplary Complete Streets initiative each week. But now the full report from our National Complete Streets Coalition is out, highlighting 12 people and places doing exceptional work when it comes to making a tangible difference on building safer, more complete streets.

Unlike our usual annual report which grades and ranks policies, we took a different approach this year to celebrate a brand new framework for evaluating what makes a successful Complete Streets policy. The new policy framework, which will be used to grade all policies passed in 2018, moves beyond merely passing a policy and puts a greater emphasis on equity and implementation, reflecting the progress that the Complete Streets movement has made over the last decade.

The 12 communities and people highlighted in the report reflect this more ambitious and effective approach. Congratulations to everyone who had a role in these 12 initiatives and to all the other communities that have passed Complete Streets policies in the last year.

Calvin Gladney to be the next President and CEO of Smart Growth America

Mr. Gladney brings to SGA a wealth of practical, hands-on experience in helping residents and leaders of towns and cities across the country sustainably revitalize neighborhoods while ensuring that historically underserved communities aren’t left behind along the way. “SGA’s primary mission 10 years ago was to help define what smart growth is and what it looks like, and how it could help address many of our country’s daunting challenges,” Gladney said. “The biggest challenge today is ensuring that this rising tide of smarter growth truly creates opportunity for everyone.”

Calvin Gladney will succeed Geoff Anderson as the third President and CEO in the organization’s history and will officially assume his new role in mid-April. See the full announcement >>


  • Bipartisan omnibus spending bill shows strong federal commitment to local communities: in contrast to the president’s budget request that we termed “a broadside against local communities,” the bipartisan appropriations bill signed by President Trump late last Friday reflects a strong federal commitment to a range of federal programs local communities rely on—like the EPA’s brownfields program and funding for affordable housing and community development. With regards to transportation, the omnibus is a step in the right direction, supplying robust funding for vital programs that were targeted for deep cuts or elimination in President Trump’s budget, including a three-fold increase in the size of the TIGER competitive grant program.
    Read the full statement from Geoff Anderson on behalf of SGA >>
    Read the full statement from Kevin Thompson, Director of Transportation for America >>
  • TIGER grants focus on rural areas, recognize the value of complete streets, and ignore transit: Just a few weeks before the passage of this appropriations bill that will triple the size of the program for next year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the winners of this year’s TIGER grants. The winners show a clear shift in priorities with the Trump administration—this round is decidedly more rural or small town in nature and nearly devoid of transit projects. However, the winners also show that this administration recognizes how smaller-scale complete streets projects bring tremendous value to local communities. T4 America identified five key themes from this year’s grants, available on the blog. Read the full blog post >>
  • Action steps for getting Cool & Connected in our last webinar: Many smaller communities across the country have struggled to adapt as legacy industries or major employers that once helped sustain a place slow down or close altogether. But some communities are discovering economic opportunity with new investments in broadband and a renewed focus on their downtowns. We recently released two audio stories from two such communities—Erwin, TN and Millinocket, ME—and held a webinar last week where we heard from two additional communities—Zanesville, OH and Eastport, ME—that you can watch here. On April 5 at 1:30 p.m. ET we’ll be holding our final Cool & Connected webinar with a broadband expert covering action steps for broadband investment & downtown revitalization. Register for the action steps webinar >>
  • Transit on the agenda (and the ballot) in Nashville: Nashville, TN is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation conversation about transit and the future it wants to create. On May 1, residents there will decide whether to support a $5.2 billion plan to dramatically expand Nashville’s transit system. Our Intersections conference next week (April 3-4) will be taking place at a pivotal time in the city’s history and will feature a discussion and reception with Nashville Mayor David Briley and transportation expert Janette Sadik-Khan. This reception is open to the public but registration is required. Learn more and register for the reception >>


Speaking of Intersections, it’s less than one week away and registration closes soon: Scores of communities are looking for ways to create streets that work for everyone and reflect their unique, local character. Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets is the premier convening of national leaders in Complete Streets and creative placemaking. Space at the conference is limited and spots are filling fast; registration closes this Thursday, March 29 at 12 p.m. ET. 

Registration for the LOCUS Leadership Summit closes on April 10: From April 22-24, 2018, our coalition of responsible real estate investors and developers, LOCUS, will be hosting their annual summit at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. If you’re interested in housing and tax policy changes, the future of neighborhood and community redevelopment, and industry trends, there’s still time to register, but act soon, registration closes on April 10. The winners of the 2018 LOCUS Leadership Awards will also be announced at the Summit.

Tell your local elected officials to check out First & Main: This April, we’re bringing our growing coalition of local leaders from small and midsized communities—First & Main, we're calling it—to Washington, DC to tell Congress and the Trump administration why a strong federal-local partnership is critical to their communities' futures. Communities across the country have seen factories shuttered, local roads deteriorate, quality of life compromised, and jobs lost. Residents and leaders are counting on a reliable federal partner to support their homegrown efforts to rebuild their downtowns and improve opportunity for everyone. If you live in a small town or mid-sized city call, email, tweet at, or send a facebook message to your mayor, county executive, or city councilperson and urge them to join the First & Main coalition at firstandmain.org.


Stories being shared around the Smart Growth America office this week

  • Uber’s fatal crash: Are self-driving tests endangering pedestrians? (Curbed)
  • True affordability: Critiquing the international housing affordability survey (Planetizen)
  • TIGER IX grant winners (USDOT)
  • Sursum Corda neighborhood in DC set for massive, mixed-use redevelopment (Washington Business Journal)
  • How much has Smart Streets driven downtown South Bend's turnaround? (South Bend Tribune)
  • Fatal Uber crash raises red flags about self-driving safety (City Lab)


Connect with SGA staff in all corners of the country 

  • March 26-28: 2018 Main Street Now conference (Kansas City, MO)
  • March 28: Greensboro Housing Coalition 2018 Housing Summit (Greensboro, NC)
  • March 28-30: NACo Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge team-based workshop (Des Moines, IA)
  • March 29: Transit and the Arts Town Hall (Nashville, TN)
  • April 2-4: Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets conference (Nashville, TN)
  • April 11-13: PolicyLink Equity Summit 2018 (Chicago, IL)
  • April 12: American Public Works Association, NY Chapter conference (Buffalo, NY)
  • April 16: Southern Railroad Commission meeting (New Orleans, LA)
  • April 16-17: Smart Cities Collaborative meeting (Denver, CO)
  • April 21-24: APA 2018 National Planning Conference (New Orleans, LA)
  • April 22-24: LOCUS Leadership Summit: Rebuild America’s Neighborhoods (Washington, DC)
  • April 22-24: First & Main fly-in (Washington, DC)
  • April 23-24: Colorado Complete Streets Consortium Series workshop (Westminster, CO)
  • May 2-3: Safe Streets Academy (South Bend, IN)
  • May 16: 26th Congress for the New Urbanism/Driehaus Form-Based Code Award Ceremony (Savannah, GA)
  • May 21-23: ArtPlace Summit (Louisville, KY)
  • June 14-15: Colorado Complete Streets Consortium Series workshop (Aurora, CO)

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