Complete Streets News – April 2014

Policy Adoption

The Middletown, CT Planning and Zoning Commission voted last month to incorporate a Complete Streets Master Plan as an amendment to the city’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The plan’s development was led by a citizen committee working closely with the Common Council and Mayor Daniel Drew, and its adoption will ensure Complete Streets principles are integral part of the city’s long-term planning process. Read more >>

The city council in Columbus, GA, which had been working toward a Complete Streets policy since the fall, resolved in March to adopt the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets design policy as its own guide for all local transportation improvements. Read more >>

The Philadelphia-area community of Cherry Hill, NJ, adopted a Complete Streets policy in late March. The resolution provides additional backing for the commitment to multimodal accessibility the township made in its 2013 pedestrian and bicycle master plan. Read more >>

Chattanooga became the latest Tennessee city to adopt a Complete Streets measure, when city council adopted an ordinance on April 1. The new policy builds on the successful launch of a 33-station bikeshare system in 2012—the largest new system in the country at the time—which galvanized local support for inclusive transportation policy and infrastructure. Read more >>

Policy Action

NACTO Urban Street Design Guide endorsed by Massachusetts, California DOTs — In an exciting step forward, the Massachusetts and California Departments of Transportation have joined the Washington State DOT in endorsing the Urban Street Design Guide developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey announced the agency’s endorsement in early April, noting that the guide provides “essential design principles for safe, multi-modal urban streets and attractive public spaces” that support the department’s mission. MassDOT has long been a leader in Complete Streets policy and practices, and the new guide will be help it achieve the vision for the state’s transportation system embodied in its 2013 Healthy Transportation directive. Just a few days after MassDOT, Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty announced his agency’s endorsement. Caltrans has been working to implement its 2008 Complete Streets policy; endorsing the NACTO guidance will provide needed design flexibility across the state.

Building on the Complete Streets policy it adopted in January, Evanston, IL, is evaluating several reconfigurations to better serve the many users, in and out of cars, who share a crowded four-lane road segment near Northwestern University and connect its growing bicycle network. The redesign will be incorporated into previously programmed resurfacing and sewer work.

A lane conversion on Ulune St. in the Aiea area of Honolulu, HI, is one of several projects in the ongoing implementation of the city-county’s 2012 Complete Streets ordinance. A high-traffic street adjacent to Aiea High School will soon have curb extensions, back-in angled parking, and high-visibility crosswalks. Parts of Kailua Road and North King Street also will be redesigned with all users in mind.

A multimodal transformation is in the works for Broadway Ave. in San Antonio, TX, in line with both local and regional Complete Streets policies. As part of a streetcar project, city officials have proposed an updated boulevard design that provides a generous walking space, new trees, protected bike lanes, and streetcars running in mixed traffic along a corridor that already is seeing considerable reinvestment.

Federal Policy Update

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released proposed rules for measuring progress on roadway safety, as required under the current transportation law, MAP-21. The proposed rules are a start, but still need a lot of work to truly improve safety for everyone who uses the streets. Among the proposed performance measures’ many shortcomings is that they provide no means for separating the safety of non-motorized users from that of motorists—so pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities could continue to rise as long as overall injuries per vehicle mile traveled improve. Nor do the rules provide for meaningful consequences if state DOTs fail to meet the already weak performance standards.The comment period on the proposed rules lasts until June 9, 2014. You can submit your own comments on the proposed rule online.

The Safe Streets Act continues to gather cosponsors, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) signing onto the Senate version of the bill, S. 2004, over the last month. Thank you, Senators, for your support of safe and multimodal streets. As we draw closer to the next transportation authorization, the House version of the Safe Streets Act, H.R. 2468, has more than 30 cosponsors from both parties, representing districts in almost half the states.

Please join us in thanking the Senators and Representatives who are working for safer streets for everyone — or ask your Members of Congress to join them — with our online action. Or if your spring break plans include a trip to the Capital, stop by your Representative’s District office and let them know why supporting the Safe Streets Act is in everyone’s interest.

Coalition News

AARP and the Coalition release Complete Streets in the Southeast tool kit — The new resource shares information about Complete Streets in cities across the southeast and provides tools for practitioners—in the region and beyond—who are developing or implementing Complete Streets policies. The toolkit offers regional perspectives on how to most effectively discuss and promote Complete Streets, case studies of successful local implementations, and fact sheets for every state in the region. Other resources include links to videos and presentations based in or tailored to the southeast, sample editorials and letters to the editor, a template Complete Streets audit and implementation plan, and worksheets for local residents examining local documents and procedures. Download the full toolkit.

Thank you, Partners! The Coalition thanks our Partners who recently renewed their support: Bronze Partners Ball Janik, LLP; Freese & Nichols, Inc.; MMM Group Limited; and RPM Transportation Consultants. We’re pleased to welcome our newest Bronze Partner, Basulto Management Consulting. Support the Coalition’s work by becoming a Partner today! Upgrade or join by June 30th and receive a signed copy of Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks by Barbara McCann.

Early-bird registration ends on April 30 for the half-day workshop on Complete Streets Design Implementation for Professionals at CNU 22 in Buffalo. Led by Paul Zykofsky, AICP, this workshop will provide planners, engineers and design professionals with the basic technical tools to routinely create networks of context-appropriate streets that serve all users. Sign up today!

Complete Streets News

After a excellent editorial in February on Los Angeles‘ proposed My Figueroa streetscape and road diet, the Los Angeles Times followed up with an opinion piece on the new connections a revitalized human-scaled space promises to forge among institutions and innovators along the corridor.

The Miami Herald ran a column on the role of Complete Streets in fostering healthy communities, and how south Florida is transforming its thinking to include all users and modes as its continues to grow.

Around Orlando, FL, the new SunRail commuter rail system is set for a May 1st system opening. SunRail is the first new rail system to open in the US since 2011, and the Florida Department of Transportation estimates that it has already attracted more than $1.7 billion in new development, including 4,500 residential units, within a 10-minute walk of its 12 stations. However, residents have warned that sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure around many of the stations are inadequate for the forecast demand from people accessing the stations by foot or bicycle.

Several miles of Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, GA, will be redesigned to improve the safety, utility, and aesthetics for everybody who uses it—especially people who walk and ride transit. A case study in Georgia Engineer takes an in-depth look at the interagency, public-private collaborative process that led to the multimodal redesign of this crucial connection between Midtown, the new BeltLine Trail, and suburbs to the east.

Data journalism website examined traffic volumes and congestion on several Minneapolis roads that had had bike lanes installed. They found that on already congested roads, new bike lanes likely made it harder for cars to switch lanes during rush hour, though they didn’t increase congestion to unacceptable levels. On roads that started out with little congestion, adding bike lanes had almost no effect, since they repurposing space that wasn’t being used. The article’s conclusion aligns with what Complete Streets practitioners have long known: while not every street should have the same design, well-planned bike lanes increase efficiency and better serve all users of the street.

Vision Long Island’s Second Annual Long Island Complete Streets Summit brought together some 130 local leaders, transportation practitioners, advocates, and researchers at Molloy College in Farmingdale, NY. Panelists presented on Complete Streets policy development, design, and implementation, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivered the keynote address.

Incomplete Streets Death: Norma Velasquez-Cabrera — In two separate crashes within less than a month, a pair of teenage sisters and a high-school senior were struck and severely injured along the same hazardous stretch of Hillsborough Dr. in Tampa, FL. Norma Velasquez-Cabrera, 15, died of her injuries after she and her 14-year old sister Victoria were struck on March 18. They were crossing the road at 25th Street, a point where crosswalks are nearly half a mile apart despite the presence of large apartment complexes on the opposite side of the arterial from retail centers and a high school. William Hogan, 18, was seriously injured on April 9 while trying to cross eight lanes of traffic on Hillsborough near 40th Street.


Report: Lifting the Veil on STIPs — Analysis from Advocacy Advance examines pedestrian and bicycle spending in Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIPs), which document state spending and the use of federal transportation monies on transportation projects. The report finds that STIPs vary widely in the quality of information they provide on pedestrian and bicycle programs, but that the programmed amounts are very small — totaling less than 1.5% of all programmed STIP funds across the country. Because bicycle and pedestrian projects are relatively inexpensive, they may be more numerous than funding levels suggest — but without better available information, the public can’t see how their states invest in safe walking and bicycling environments.

Research: Measuring Sprawl 2014A new report from Smart Growth America looks at the advance and retreat of sprawling development patterns across the U.S., as well as sprawl’s associated effects on health, economic mobility, safety, and household budgets. Lead authors Reid Ewing and Shima Hamidi of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah, supported by Smart Growth America, examined data from more than 220 metropolitan areas and nearly a thousand counties. The analysis finds that residents of more compact, connected metros had greater economic mobility, spent less on the combined cost of housing and transportation, and led safer, healthier lives than people in the most sprawling regions.

Research: Complete Streets Implementations in New York State — The New York Academy of Medicine examined a number of New York state communities after they adopted Complete Streets policies. Using data that included the Coalition’s own policy rankings, the researchers attempt to quantify the factors that contributed to a successful Complete Streets implementation, in terms of improved biking and pedestrian facilities. Local cooperation, follow-through, and ongoing training are important for success.

Resource: County Health Rankings — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released its annual report on public health at the county level. The report and accompanying interactive website ranks every US county on both the factors that influence health—such as smoking, access to healthy food, crime and poverty, and commute mode—and health outcomes—like low birth weight, work missed due to sickness, and premature death.

Research: Monitoring Bicyclist and Pedestrian Travel and Behavior
— The Transportation Research Board’s latest research circular outlines recent findings on the advancing state of the art in measuring the performance of the transportation system for trips on foot and bicycle. Endeavoring to go beyond counting commute mode, the circular discusses improved methods for the manual and automatic counting of bicycle and foot traffic, as well as new protocols for recording and communicating this information.

Grant Opportunity: Health Impact Assessments for Improved Community Design — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are offering 6 awards totaling $2.6 million toward capacity building for Health Impact Assessments for Improved Community Design. The current grant opportunity is open through April 28, 2014.

Grant Opportunity: Women Bike Mini-grants — The League of American Bicyclists’ Women Bike program is offering a round of mini-grants totaling $3,000. The grants, which are limited to a maximum of $1,000 for any one project, are intended to “seed, support, and spread the best campaigns and ideas that are getting more women on bikes.” Applications are open to current members of the League, and are due April 28th.


“[The] Indianapolis Cultural Trail used to be traffic lanes and parking spaces. It now carries cyclists and pedestrians and serves as a worldwide model…This trail and many other examples in cities across America demonstrate a bold new thinking toward urban transportation planning. A highway to a new factory may still be critical to attracting new jobs and moving these goods to market. But if you want to attract that facility’s workers to live in your city, you need sidewalks, bike lanes, greenways and so much more.”
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, addressing a US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on MAP-21 reauthorization

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