The National Complete Streets Coalition is happy to make it official: more than 100 jurisdictions across the United States have adopted Complete Streets policies! The Coalition celebrated the milestone on Monday October 5th with a reception on Capitol Hill, co-hosted by the American Planning Association (APA) and Representative Doris Matsui. Support was provided by the firms HNTB, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc, Kittelson & Associates, and Gresham Smith and Partners. More than 140 people attended, including planners from around the country, Capitol Hill staffers, and Coalition members. Coalition Executive Director Barbara McCann and APA President Bruce Knight welcomed attendees.
The City Councils of Lansing, Michigan and Rockville, Maryland helped put us over the 100 mark with votes this summer, and both sent representatives to the event. Their remarks demonstrate the different paths to policy adoption: Karen Kafantaris, Associate State Director for Community Service with AARP’s Michigan office, said community members drove the policy process in Lansing, running a successful legislative initiative petition to demonstrate support for complete streets. In contrast, in Rockville, Maryland, planners took the lead in developing the policy with assistance from the firm VHB. City council member John Britton said the community is enthusiastic about Complete Streets as one element in Rockville’s progress toward becoming a walkable, livable city, centered on the DC Metro transit system.
Speaker Nick Donohue, Assistant Secretary at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) had some advice for the new policy adopters, based on VDOT’s 5-year old policy: their work has only just begun. He chronicled Virginia’s work to instill a Complete Streets attitude into the daily work of the Department’s engineers and planners.
Policy adoption at all levels has accelerated dramatically this year, with 28 new policies adopted so far; in fact, since we reached the 100 mark in late August, another 7 jurisdictions have adopted policies. Eighteen states now have some form of state-level Complete Streets policy, and 35 states are home to at least one policy at the city or regional level. At the reception, U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Policy, Polly Trottenberg, congratulated the Coalition and linked our mission of safe streets for all users to the livability and sustainability initiatives the Department has launched in coordination with the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa is the sponsor of the Complete Streets Act of 2009, and his transportation aide, Richard Bender spoke of his boss’s strong interest in Complete Streets as an avenue to help people be more physically active, and to provide access to people with disabilities. He noted that with the adoption of policies across the country, the pressure for a federal policy is now coming from the ground up, and he urged attendees to ask their members of Congress to co-sponsor the measure.
In addition to Rockville and Lansing, the ten most recent policies have been adopted in the States of Connecticut and Wisconsin; Flint, Michigan; Albert Lea, Minnesota; Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Missoula, Montana; Richland County, South Carolina; and Knoxville, Tennessee. You can check out policies in your state at our Complete Streets Policy Atlas. If you want to put your community on the map, consider sponsoring a Complete Streets workshop, or consult our online resources.
Thank you once again to everyone who made the event a success: the American Planning Association, Representative Doris Matsui, HNTB, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Kittelson & Associates, and Gresham Smith and Partners. Special thanks to the 100+ jurisdictions that have made a commitment to Complete Streets. And of course a big thank you to Dan Guilbeault, our former federal policy fellow, for making sure the event went off without a hitch.