ICYMI: The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015 — Each year, the National Complete Streets Coalition tracks and analyzes newly passed Complete Streets policies. In case you missed it, this year’s rankings came out last week. The City of Reading, PA’s policy took home the top spot, with the first-ever perfect 100 score. As part of the kickoff, we hosted an online panel discussion, featuring Senator Brian Schatz; Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock; Craig Peiffer of Reading; and Hildy Kingma of Park Forest, IL. The recorded webinar is now online. We also took a few minutes to answer your questions from the webinar.
Save the Date: Complete Streets Conference — Join the National Complete Streets Coalition as we host our first-ever Complete Streets Conference on November 15, 2016 in Sacramento, CA. This national discussion will convene leaders and practitioners to share best practices, tools, and expertise, as well as celebrate the successes of the Complete Streets movement. Attendees will strategize on the future direction of Complete Streets, as the Coalition gears up to celebrate the 1000th national Complete Streets policy. Registration opens in May, stay tuned for an alert.
Upcoming Webinar: Complete Streets Implementation and Design— Join us next week for a free online discussion about Complete Streets implementation and design. Hosted April 28, 2016 from 12:00-1:00 PM EDT, the webinar is geared to help transportation planners, engineers, and practitioners turn policies on paper into changes on the ground. Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and Mike Rutkowski, Coalition Steering Committee member, will guide attendees on how Complete Streets projects can help people and communities and what practitioners need to consider when designing and implementing those projects.
Complete Streets in Massena, NY — The National Complete Streets Coalition visited Massena, NY this month to lead a workshop focused on policy development. Through hands-on training, we worked with the New York State Department of Transportation to lay the foundations of a Complete Streets policy and establish model policy language. For more information on the Complete Streets workshop program, contact Linda Tracy at 406-880-3880, or visit our workshop page.
Send us your Complete Streets policies — Has your community passed a new Complete Streets policy? The National Complete Streets Coalition is collecting city, county, regional, and state policies for documentation in our Policy Atlas, Policy Inventory, and our Best Complete Streets reports. For inclusion in these resources, please send a PDF copy of your policy to Mary Eveleigh.
TOD technical assistance winners announced — Nine communities working to support development around planned or existing transit projects will get a big boost this year thanks to newly awarded technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration, in partnership with Smart Growth America. This assistance will help communities plan for and manage economic development near transit through effective zoning and land use, as well as provide expert advice on preserving affordable housing and securing advantageous commercial development, among other opportunities. Learn more.
America Walks Study — A new mobile app-based project from America Walks is seeking to determine walking behavior of individuals in the United States. Download the app to your phone to find out how much you are walking compared to others in your state and demographic category.
Upcoming webinar: NACTO Transit Street Design Guide — In 2014, Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transit, the highest since the dawn of the highway era. But most of these trips are on streets that were designed to move private cars, with transit as an afterthought. On April 27, 2016 from 11:30 AM-12:45 PM EDT, join Matthew Roe, Director of NACTO’s Designing Cities Initiative, and Dr. John Renne, Director of the Center for Urban and Environment Solutions for a discussion about how NACTO’s new Transit Street Design Guide can help streets of every size be redesigned to create great transit streets and support strong neighborhoods and downtowns.
Upcoming webinar: USDOT on TIFIA — With recent reforms, the TIFIA Program is a newly accessible federal financing tool to help communities to more quickly complete their trail and active transportation networks with low-interest federal loans and other credit assistance. In an upcoming webinar, presenters from USDOT and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will dig into the details of TIFIA, including the eligibilities and procedures, opportunities for public-private partnerships, and how USDOT can help you apply to the program. The sponsor of the only TIFIA pedestrian project approved before the reforms will also discuss his experience with the application process.
Making Strides, State Report Cards — Physical activity is a fundamental building block for good health, and states have a crucial role in promoting it—but how are they doing? The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s 2016 State Report Card makes it easy to understand how states are supporting walking, bicycling, and active kids and communities. The report card primarily looks at state policy and implementation of key public policies, but also includes a few measures that summarize the reality on the ground for access to parks, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Each state is scored in four key areas: Complete Streets and Active Transportation, Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Funding, Active Neighborhoods and Schools, and State Physical Activity Planning and Support.
Autism: Travel Patterns, Need, and Barriers — Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has received a substantial amount of attention in other fields, very little appears in the transportation literature about people with ASD. Because the National Household Travel Survey and metropolitan travel surveys do not classify people with ASD as a separate category of persons with disabilities, very little information is available about their travel patterns, needs, or barriers. To bridge the existing information gap, a recent paper provides results from a survey that focused exclusively on adults with ASD in New Jersey to learn about their travel patterns, the importance of the various types of trips they make, and the barriers they encounter regarding the use of different transportation modes.
Mendon, MA selectmen adopted a Complete Streets prioritization plan last week, indicating town officials’ goal of improving local roads and sidewalks. Complete Streets is a state policy initiated by the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Agency intended to encourage towns to “identify some of their shortcomings in terms of transportation needs,” according to Kathy Schofield of the Historical Commission. The plan for Mendon, she said, is to begin creating Complete Streets in the town center, and eventually expand to the area of Clough Elementary School, and town parks, so they are more accessible to residents. Adopting a policy makes a town eligible for up to $400,000 in funding for road projects as well additional grant opportunities, said Town Administrator Kimberly Newman.
A plan that looks to make streets safer for bikers and pedestrians, and one that will help to bring in grant money for the city, was passed last month at Aberdeen, WA‘s City Council meeting. The plan seeks to integrate a transportation network that takes into account access, mobility, health, and safety needs of everyone on the road. Design features associated with the plan include shared use paths, bike lanes, accessible curb ramps, and even bicycle parking facilities, to name a few. “If you’re looking to do…infrastructure projects, most of the funding is coming through grants and other projects at the state and federal level. Having a Complete Streets plan gives…extra points on our submission for grants,” said Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson.
Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, KY unveiled Move Louisville, the city’s 20-year multi-modal plan, last week at the Regional Mobility Summit hosted by the Transit Authority of the River City. The top two priorities identified in the plan are fixing and maintaining the existing infrastructure and reducing the number of miles that Louisvillians drive by providing and improving mobility options. “If we fix our existing streets and sidewalks, embrace premium transit, and provide more Complete Streets with improved connectivity, we can create a safer, healthier, and more livable city, and that will help us grow jobs,” said Fischer. “This investment in big, critical, long-term projects will strategically align us to support a thriving 21st Century city.”
The wheels continued to turn on Bowling Green, OH’s Complete Streets efforts this month as the city’s Bicycle Safety Commission met with City Engineer Jason Sisco. Sisco presented what he called his recent attempt at a map of the city that includes a Complete Streets network, with the included streets marked in yellow. He noted there are at least two other such maps on city websites, which show differing routes. Commission Chair Rob Kleine suggested that destination categories as a focus in creating networks for Complete Streets include areas such as schools, parks, shopping, and Bowling Green State University. In July of 2015, the City Council passed a resolution in support of Complete Streets.
Advocates for continuing Billings, MT’s Complete Streets policy told the City Council this month it’s needed for public safety, for growth, and as a way to give the 26.8 percent of the population too old or too young to drive—plus those who choose not to drive—a way to travel around town. The policy is not a mandate and is flexible, Planning and Community Services Director Candi Millar said during the council work session. Councilman Larry Brewster said he wants the city council to tweak the policy during the upcoming April work session to encourage flexibility. Designing Complete Streets, which can include bike lanes, sidewalks, and parking, enables safe access for all users—motorists, transit riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike.
The Encinitas, CA City Council unanimously empowered the Traffic and Public Safety Commission to draft a policy that will govern Complete Streets projects throughout the city. State law requires that cities adopt Complete Street plans when they update their traffic plans, known as circulation elements. But the council agreed that the city should look at adopting an interim plan. “I would propose that we direct the traffic and public safety commission to develop policy for council consideration and propose something to us sooner rather than later,” Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer said. While the city does not have a Complete Streets policy, it has implemented several projects to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists on the roads, including a re-striping of La Costa Avenue between Vulcan Avenue and Interstate 5.
Clarksburg, MA is seeking to adopt a Complete Streets policy that would guide its future road construction and open up state grant funding. The four-page policy broadly outlines implementation and goals, best practices to follow, incorporation into current zoning and other bylaws, and the need to inventory and update infrastructure gaps and improvements. The state Department of Transportation has been pursuing the concept of Complete Streets, which envision ways to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists along with motor vehicles. Some $12.5 million in funding is available in fiscal 2016 and 2017; eligible communities can receive from $50,000 to $400,000 toward technical assistance or construction.