Several bills recently introduced in Congress recognize the clear benefits that complete streets provide for improving the safety and livability of a community for everyone living there–regardless of age or ability. Senator Dodd (CT) was joined by Senators Menendez (NJ), Merkley (OR), Bennet (CO) and Akaka (HI) in introducing the Livable Communities Act of 2009 (S. 1619). The legislation builds on the new Partnership for Sustainable Communities that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency recently embarked on to ensure federal programs are creating livable communities. Senator Dodd’s bill would fund the development and implementation of regional plans to link transportation, land use, housing and economic development to create prosperous, sustainable communities. The Senator stated “This program will help communities invest in public transportation, affordable housing, complete streets, transit-oriented development, and redeveloping brown fields.” He went on to say that the legislation would address the desire of Americans to “enjoy the places where we live and work without excessive traffic, skyrocketing fuel costs, and sprawling development patterns that eat up our open space.”
We applaud Senator Dodd for his leadership and his recognition of the need for complete streets policies that provide people with safe, convenient transportation choices. The Livable Communities Act of 2009 is a great companion to the Complete Streets Act of 2009 (S. 584). Together, they will ensure that future investments create streets that work for everyone. Visit Smart Growth America’s action page or read this bill fact sheet for more information.
The Older Drive and Pedestrian Safety and Roadway Enhancement Act of 2009 (H.R. 3355), introduced by Rep. Altmire (PA-4), would improve design guidelines, data collection, and provide funding for states to make roads safer for older drivers and pedestrians. The legislation acts on recommendations from AARP’s recent report, Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America. By ensuring street design accommodates the needs of older drivers, pedestrians, and transit users, the legislation will result in safer streets for everyone–whether young or old, pushing a stroller or in a wheelchair. AARP’s press release and this bill fact sheet offer more information.