Last month, we shared the stories of how Orlando, FL, Lexington, KY, and South Bend, IN launched demonstration projects to create safer streets. Watch the webinar with representatives from all three cities who spoke about lessons learned from their experiences developing demonstration projects.
The latest developments, events, and resources from the National Complete Streets Coalition:
Even after decades of safety improvements, more people are now dying on our roadways every year, especially people walking. This happens in part because we continue to design our streets to prioritize moving cars—not people—as quickly as possible, creating a dangerous, high-speed environment for all people who use the street. To test out creative approaches to safer street design, the National Complete Streets Coalition launched the Safe Streets Academy. We worked with three cities around the country to build skills in safer street design, creative placemaking, and community engagement, then helped the cities put these skills into practice. Through demonstration projects, the City of Orlando, FL, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, KY, and the City of South Bend, IN transformed their streets, intersections, and neighborhoods into slower, safer places for people. Communities around the country can learn from the stories of these demonstration projects to test out low-cost ways to create safer streets.
To address recurring, dangerous speeding problems on neighborhood streets, the City of South Bend launched a demonstration project to test out traffic-calming tools they had never used before including traffic circles, chicanes, and bump outs. They worked closely with the local community to decide where these traffic-calming strategies were most needed. They also added educational signs to help teach people how street design can improve safety by encouraging drivers to slow down while simultaneously creating more vibrant places for people. As a result of this demonstration project, drivers drove slower on these streets, and South Bend also built trust with the community. To replicate the success of this project elsewhere, South Bend will develop a toolkit based on this experience to launch additional traffic calming projects in other neighborhoods throughout the city to improve safety and convenience for people on foot or bike.
Two particular intersections along Bryan Avenue in Lexington, KY were dangerous and confusing places for everyone, including people walking, biking, and driving. Both intersections had unusual turning angles and missing crosswalks, and it was often unclear who had the right of way. To slow the speeds of cars traveling through these two intersections and transform them into safer, more predictable, and more comfortable places for people, a team from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government launched a temporary demonstration project. They worked closely with the local community and used inexpensive, flexible materials to redesign the intersections by redirecting cars and adding crosswalks and pedestrian refuges. Lexington also tested out more interactive strategies for letting the people in the community most affected by the project take the lead on envisioning safer streets.
The Orlando metropolitan region has long had notoriously dangerous roadways, especially for people walking. A team from the City of Orlando dedicated to improving safety launched a demonstration project on Curry Ford Road, a commercial arterial with a history of crashes involving people walking and biking that spans both the city’s and county’s jurisdictions. By collaborating with Orange County staff and with local elected officials, the team transformed this five-lane speedway into a three-lane Complete Street with protected cycle tracks and a mid-block crossing with a painted pedestrian refuge. Although local business owners and nearby residents supported the demonstration project, people who commute through the neighborhood were resistant to the changes, which raised important questions about the necessary trade-offs between safety and speed when designing safer streets for people.
Through our Safe Streets Academy, teams from Orlando, FL, Lexington, KY, and South Bend, IN launched demonstration projects to transform their streets into safer places for people walking, biking, and driving. How did they do it? On June 12, we’re releasing case studies that tell their stories — stories that can help others around the country learn how to create safer streets in their own communities. Join us for a webinar on June 12 from 2:30-3:30PM ET to celebrate these projects and learn more about the cities’ experiences!
Last December, we selected the cities of Aurora, Arvada, and Westminster, CO to participate in the second Complete Streets Consortium Series. Throughout the series, teams from these three Denver suburbs, along with staff members from regional agencies, will work together to develop actionable Complete Streets policies that help them achieve their goals, including building transportation networks to serve all people who use the streets and providing more and better first-mile/last-mile connections to transit. This April, we met in Westminster, CO for the first of three workshops in the series.
Following Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets a few weeks ago, our two senior staffers behind the conference reflect on an incredible few days in Nashville where artists came together with transportation experts to talk about how we all can be part of building safer, Complete Streets.
Through the Safe Streets Academy, three cities are build skills in safer street design, tactical urbanism, and community engagement. After our second workshop, the teams from Lexington, KY; South Bend, IN; and Orlando, FL applied these skills to launch on-the-ground demonstration projects testing techniques to slow down drivers and make their streets safer places for people.
Before the Intersections conference in Nashville last week, some people might have been scratching their heads at the idea of a conference bringing together artists with transportation experts. But once the conference started, everyone keyed in on how much they could learn from one another and what they could accomplish together. Here are a few personal reflections from our staff about Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets.