Complete Streets News – August 2013

Policy Action

Concord, California has been awarded funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program to redesign Detroit Avenue. To be eligible for OBAG funds, communities in the San Francisco Bay region must show that the project follows a Complete Streets approach, in line with a locally-adopted policy or plan. (Concord Patch)

Sacramento, California’s Complete Streets Coalition brings together community non-profits and regional public agencies to ensure Complete Streets implementation in plans, projects, and processes. WALKSacramento gave an update on its work in a recent blog post. Read more >>

Los Angeles Departments of City Planning and Transportation are working together to develop a Mobility Element of the city’s General Plan that fully considers the needs of all users of the roadways and responds to citizens’ input. Streetsblog L.A. gives an update on their work so far and how community members can engage and share their ideas. Read more >>

The Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation recently rebuilt a intersection that was tricky to navigate by car or foot, resulting in several collisions. Instead of relying on a new traffic light, the city clarified and slowed the approaches to the intersection with new curbs, signs, and paint. (Washington Post)

Sandpoint, Idaho, which adopted a Complete Streets policy 2012, worked with outside experts and the Idaho Transportation Department to change designs on a state-owned roadway from one that would increase capacity for vehicles over local desire for a more walkable, bikeable street. (Project for Public Spaces)

An upcoming Tinley Park, Illinois resurfacing project near Walker Intermediate School will provide an opportunity to apply the city’s 2012 Complete Streets policy. (Chicago Tribune)

Indianapolis gets some love from People for Bikes, where a major public-private project provides 8 miles of safe space for walking and bicycling along roadways and community members and leaders are taking the next steps in ensuring safe streets across the city. Indianapolis is home to 2012’s best Complete Streets policy. Read More > >

Plans to rebuild a Sandy-damaged New Jersey State Route 35 may not include needed facilities to improve safety for people walking and bicycling, say advocates. Though the state Department of Transportation is in charge of the project and has a comprehensive Complete Streets policy dating from 2009, no plans have been shared that show the full extent of accommodations for all users. (Asbury Park Press)

New York State‘s Complete Streets law is threatened by loophole in an internal policy that demands roads be rebuilt as they already are. While such “fix it first” policies are generally the most efficient use of limited resources, they should not preclude low-cost and common sense improvements to improve road safety via Complete Streets. (Mobilizing the Region)

Two projects on Buffalo, New York‘s Niagara Street will create tangible outcomes to the city’s 2008 Complete Streets policy. The first will do improve pavement conditions, street lights, traffic signals, and walking and bicycling facilities. The second will improve bus travel by prioritizing signals for buses, adding a transit center, and improving access to the system via walking, bicycling, and driving. (Buffalo Rising)

Saratoga Springs, New York is taking its next step in implementing Complete Streets by conducting a “Linkage Study” that will evaluate each city street to determine the needs for all users. (Saratogan)

Asheville, North Carolina is rolling out shared lane markings, or “sharrows,” on some routes in town that are too narrow for traditional bike lanes in addition to travel lanes. The city adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2012. (Mountain Express)

Westerville, Ohio‘s Schrock Road is up for reconstruction next year, and officials have proposed a plan to better accommodate current transportation needs by including on-street parking bike lanes. Westerville adopted a Complete Streets resolution in 2012. (ThisWeek)

Seattle, Washington completed a project on Linden Avenue North, which calms traffic, upgrades utilities, better defines on-street parking, and creates continuous sidewalks, ramps, and curbs. The work, done in accordance with the city’s Complete Streets ordinance, features several innovations for the city: all LED lighting, an infrared detection pedestrian crossing beacon, and the city’s first separated cycle track. (City of Seattle)

Federal Policy Update

On June 20, Representative Doris O. Matsui (D, CA-6) and Representative David Joyce (R, OH-14) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2013 (H.R. 2468). The bill requires states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to adopt inclusive transportation policies for future projects within two years. Upon introduction, Congresswoman Matsui said, “Too many of the roads in our country are designed solely with drivers in mind. The risks of such design are evident in the number of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries we see every year, and often discourage more people from considering other transportation methods.” Her focus on safety was echoed by Rep. Joyce: “I’m pleased to be part of the bipartisan effort to make our roadways safer, particularly for seniors and children. It’s important we take steps to improve safety in our communities and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

Later that day, Congresswoman Matsui opened a Congressional hearing on the Safe Streets Act, which featured Danny Pleasant, transportation director of Charlotte, North Carolina; Camille Mittelholtz, environmental policies team leader of the U.S. Department of Transportation; Angela Vance, associate state director for advocacy of AARP West Virginia; and Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. Check out a recap and video of the event on our blog.

Since then, we are pleased to announce several more co-sponsors of the Safe Streets Act: Representative Frank LoBiondo, Frank (R, NJ-2), Representative Dina Titus (D, NV-1), Representative Michael Grimm (R, NY-11), Representative Eleanor Norton-Holmes (D, DC), and Representative James Langevin (D, RI-2). Thank you to all the co-sponsors for taking leadership on safe streets! Please use our quick and easy online form to share your thanks, or to ask your representatives to support this bill.

Coalition News

Coalition Celebrates 500 Complete Streets Policies — On August 14, members, friends, and supporters of the National Complete Streets Coalition gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the first 500 Complete Streets policies adopted in the U.S. Attendees listened to the remarks and engaging discussion among panelists from the city of Memphis (home to the 500th policy), the Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the National Association of Realtors, and the Alliance for Biking & Walking. With generous support from Nelson/Nygaard, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, and Bike Walk Tennessee, people from around the country were able to join via live webcast and submit questions via Twitter. The Coalition also thanks APTA for hosting the event in D.C. Check out video from the event on our blog, and head to AARP and Streetsblog Capitol Hill for more coverage of this milestone.

Complete Streets Training for Professionals — Collaboratively developed by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and the National Complete Streets Coalition, an intensive half-day Complete Streets workshop for planners, engineers, and other members of the professional design community will be offered on September 9 in Boulder, Colorado. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of best practices in policy, effective implementation steps, and technical flexibility and state-of-the-practice design research tools. Offered in conjunction with the APBP Professional Development Seminar, this workshop does not require conference registration. The deadline to register is August 23. Register here >>

Realtors® Invest in Great CommunitiesThe National Association of Realtors®, a member of our Steering Committee, has been helping state and local associations improve the quality of life in communities through its Smart Growth Action Grant program. With funds from this program, local Realtors have helped places such as Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee improve their transportation systems for all users. Learn more about the grant program and how to apply >>

Thank you to our Partners — Thank you to Stantec for its continued support of the Coalition at the Platinum level. The Coalition also thanks its renewing Bronze-level Partners, Burton Planning Services, Linscott, Law & Greenspan, and Urban Engineers. Support the Coalition’s work by becoming a Partner today! All Platinum Partners and those who upgrade to the next Partnership level will receive a signed copy of Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks (Island Press, 2013) by Barbara McCann.

Thank you to our Steering Committee — Throughout the year, the National Complete Streets Coalition benefits from the diverse perspectives, invaluable insight, and financial support of its Steering Committee members. Their continued commitment to safe, more inviting streets for all, makes our movement grow!

Complete Streets News

Complete Streets featured in Roads & Bridges Magazine — The August issue of Roads & Bridges features two articles on Complete Streets. One, by our own Stefanie Seskin, covers the growing Complete Streets movement, with a focus on the policy adoption efforts of Memphis, Tennessee, and offers some ways communities are implementing the concept. The second, from researchers in Minnesota, touches on how Complete Streets has been implemented in Charlotte, North Carolina, Boulder, Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin.

Complete Streets Symposium — In late July, ITS America hosted a Complete Streets Symposium in Chicago, focusing on the ways cities can use intelligent systems and data to improve the transportation experience for people walking, bicycling, taking transit, and driving — and how cities can use smart tools to better plan and design for all users. In her keynote address, Beth Osborne, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation, discussed the need to adopt new data collection and performance measures to support Complete Streets goals. Gabe Klein, Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Transportation, discussed how his city is putting pedestrians first in street planning and design and using emerging technologies to better understand how people on foot, bicycle, and bus travel.

Coming Soon: Barbara McCann’s Completing Our Streets — A new book on the movement, Completing Our Streets, will be published this October. McCann, the founding Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, discusses how transportation practitioners and community stakeholders are achieving success—and facing challenges—in implementing Complete Streets. She’s bringing some lessons learned and excerpts from the book to our blog, beginning this week with an overview of the Complete Streets movement and excerpts from the preface and introduction.

Big Results in Upstate New York — A Complete Streets redo of Hamburg, New York’s Main Street (also U.S. Route 62) in 2009 slowed traffic, added more space for walking and biking, and created modern roundabouts has shown tremendous return on investment. According to a New York Times article, car crashes on the new road dropped by 66% and injuries by 60%. Business owners, inspired by the new street, invested $7 million in 33 building projects. Building permits went up from 15 in 2005 to 96 in 2010 — and property values more than doubled. Community members, elected officials,

Phoenix, Arizona‘s Street Transportation Department has developed a draft Complete Streets policy and is looking for residents’ feedback.

The Monterey Bay, California region is helping local communities and counties plan and design Complete Streets in line with best practices by developing a Complete Streets Guide. Residents are encouraged to review and submit comments on a recent draft.

With the impending arrival of the CTFastrak bus rapid transit system an upgraded commuter rail service in Connecticut, local agency leaders are making the case for better access to these transit services with Complete Streets. (Hartford Courant)

Officials in Elko, Nevada are thinking ahead with a proposed sidewalk ordinance that would make it more difficult to allow property owners a deferral on sidewalk construction. “If you don’t provide separation between pedestrians and the roadway, you force pedestrians on the roadway … and something could happen,” said Elko Development Manager Scott Wilkinson. “You also never know where the town will grow. [Some of the areas without sidewalk] are on the edge of town now, but that doesn’t mean they will always be on the edge of town.” (Elko Daily Free Press)

The majority of New York City residents approve of Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership in creating pedestrian plazas (72%) and bike lanes (64%) throughout the city, according to a recent poll from the New York Times. The latest data shows a continued and consistent upward approval rating of such efforts. (Streetsblog)

The Age-Friendly NYC Commission says a major challenge for the city’s next mayor will be to engage the growing number of people over 65 among New York City residents—already more than 1 million, a number expected to increase another 50 percent by 2030. The group urges mayoral candidates to maintain the current Complete Streets and Safe Streets for Seniors initiatives.

Complete Streets supporters in Chattanooga, Tennessee have asked Mayor Burke to champion the development and implementation of a Complete Streets policy for his city. (Chattanoogan)

On one of his first official outings, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx visited Memphis, Tennessee, home of the 500th Complete Streets policy. Secretary Foxx discussed the city’s TIGER 4 project to improve walking and bicycling facilities in the city and on Harahan Bridge with Mayor Wharton and Congressman Steve Cohen. (WMC-TV)

Michelle Goetsch celebrates the recent changes to the Grand Avenue bridge in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, saying that new bike lanes have eased congestion on the sidewalks and made it easier for people driving, biking, and walking to share the bridge. Using a Complete Streets approach on bridges is important in making communities “all the more attractive in which to live, learn and play.” (Marshfield News Herald)

A recent national poll on childhood obesity sponsored by Kaiser Permanente found strong support for building more sidewalks, paths, trails, and bike lanes to let kids walk or bike to school. Some 68% of parents and 64% of adults in general strongly favor these measures in their communities.

Incomplete Streets Deaths: Lisa Monaco, 49, and Jeraldine Tatar, 49 — The second pedestrian fatality in two months at the same intersection outside Buffalo, New York, Lisa Monaco was struck by a car and killed crossing Niagara Falls Blvd. at Willow Ridge Dr. on the morning of August 9th. Jeraldine Tatar had been killed at nearly the same spot under similar circumstances on June 5. Residents say that the signal at the intersection, at the border of Amherst and Tonawanda, New York, does not give enough time for pedestrians to safely make it across the six-lane road.


Conference: National Walking Summit — Join national and local leaders this October 1–3 in Washington, DC, to learn more about improving walkability, develop strategies for increasing momentum in your community, and learn about best practices for increasing investment in walking facilities and walkable communities. Space is limited; register today.

Report: Involving Underserved Populations in Transportation Decisionmaking — A new Transportation Research Board report highlights tools, techniques, and approaches for identifying and connecting with populations that have traditionally been underserved and underrepresented in transportation decisionmaking.

Report and Webinar: Smart Growth and Economic Success — A new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report explores how compact, diverse, walkable development can increase property values and property tax revenues, create jobs, reduce housing and transportation costs, and increase quality of life. On Wednesday, September 18, at 3 pm ET, EPA’s Melissa Kramer will discuss the report and speakers from Lehigh Valley, PA, Champaign, IL, and Phoenix, AZ will discuss how smart growth is helping their communities prosper. No pre-registration is required. Log in as a guest at:

Study: Better Street Connectivity, Lower Traffic Speeds Associated with More Park Usage — A new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion finds that greater intersection density and lower traffic speeds are associated with greater usage of local parks and more activity in those parks. The study found that the more high-speed (>35 mph) roads or intersections participants had to walk along or cross to reach a park, the less likely they were to use it. The researchers conclude that the street network surrounding a park may be as important to its appeal as the design and features of the park itself.

Report: MPOs, TAP, and SRTS — A new white paper from the National Center for Safe Routes to School looks at how select Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are setting up and launching the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) created in the most recent federal transportation authorization bill. The paper summarizes how these agencies are working to include Safe Routes to School projects in this program and the challenges they are facing.

Report: State and Local Transportation Revenue Sources — The State Smart Transportation Initiative released a survey of innovative, sustainable transportation funding models in January 2013. The report describes these sources, where they have been implemented or proposed, and identifies laws, policies, and practices needed to pursue these funding models. An archived webinar on the report is also available.

Grant Opportunity and Resource: NHTSA Pedestrian Safety InitiativeU.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new pedestrian safety portal and announced $2 million in grants available for 22 focus cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. The grants will fund cities’ work on developing and implementing pedestrian plans, and education and enforcement efforts to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths in high-risk areas. Applications are due by August 30, 2013.

Design Guide: NACTO Urban Street Design Guide — On September 23, the National Association of City Transportation Officials will release its much anticipated Urban Street Design Guide. The new resource takes a Complete Streets approach to street planning and design, addressing the needs of all modes, and features case studies, illustrations, and guidance on customizing the Guide for local needs. Pre-order is available now.

Website: Streetmix — A product of a Code for America hackathon, this website provides a fun and easy way to visualize different street configurations. Mix and match travel lane types and widths, sidewalks, street trees and furniture, medians, utilities, and frontages to see what the possibilities are for a given right-of-way. The tool is a quick alternative to paper or CAD renderings of street cross sections.


“Complete Streets are streets that are designed to support the movement of people. And you might ask, isn’t that what most streets are designed to do? No. Most streets are designed to support the movement of vehicles. People move in many ways. They move in vehicles, they move in transit, they move on bicycles and they move in a pair of sneakers, and a complete street can support people in any of the ways they move around.”

Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation

“Building a streets system that accommodates cars, public transit, bicyclists and pedestrians is critical to making Phoenix a great modern city. A Complete Streets policy that incorporates all of these forms of transportation into a single plan is key to our economic success as a city.”

Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix, Arizona

“The best way we can grow our business is to grow this street.”

Pat Brown, business owner, on the need to transform Broad Street in Memphis, Tennessee

“If you build a place for cars, it will be a gathering place for cars. If it’s built for people, it will be a gathering place for people.”

Laura Hackathorn, business owner, on Hamburg, New York’s Complete Streets approach to U.S. Route 62

Thank you to our Partners:
Complete Streets