Complete Streets news: February 2013

Policy Adoption

On February 5, 2013, the Oakland, California City Council unanimously approved a Complete Streets policy. The new document includes specific actions to implement Complete Streets, including a review of existing plans, defining a stakeholder consultation process, and establishing and collecting data related to Complete Streets performance measures. Read more >>

Rancho Cucamonga, California, a suburban community in the greater Los Angeles region, boasts the state’s newest Complete Streets ordinance. Approved unanimously in December, the ordinance includes a robust list of performance metrics and implementation steps. Read more >>

The City of Philadelphia has finalized its Complete Streets Handbook! The new guide provides design guidance to planners, engineers and architects and helps residents understand the city’s tools for creating Complete Streets. The Handbook release follows the signing of the city’s Complete Streets Bill in December 2012 and Mayor Nutter’s 2009 Executive Order. Under the Handbook, all City projects will be subject to Complete Streets processes. Read more >>

Policy Action

Recognizing the once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide safe facilities for all modes of travel, the Georgia Department of Transportation is following its recent Complete Streets policy in the proposed redesign of a bridge across Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River in Hall County.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, in his State of the State address, said that his administration would propose a bill requiring the Hawaii Community Development Authority to develop implementation guidance for Complete Streets. A 2009 state law required the state Department of Transportation to adopt a Complete Streets policy, but lacked sufficient measures to ensure its implementation.

The City of Champaign, Illinois and the Illinois Department of Transportation are working together on roadway and bridge projects that will create safe, convenient connections in the community for those who choose to walk, bike or travel by bus or car. Windsor Road, which crosses over Interstate 57, will be redesigned with pairs of wide bike lanes and sidewalks.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, which guides regional planning in the Portage, Indiana area, is considering adopting the “Complete Streets, Complete Networks” model guide to push forward implementation of its 2010 Complete Streets policy.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has proposed an expansive, forward-thinking plan to invest in the state’s transportation network and support its long-term financial viability. The plan includes several major public transportation projects and large funding pots to support the development of multimodal transportation options across the state. Watch a video about the plan >>

Birmingham, Michigan steadily progresses in ensuring its 2011 Complete Streets resolution is implemented in a manner that best fits the community’s needs. The city recently completed a comprehensive study of existing facilities and gaps in the walking and biking networks.

Morristown, New Jersey has put Complete Streets at the heart of its efforts to update its Master Plan. The community adopted a formal Complete Streets policy in July 2012.

The New York City Department of Transportation touted the safety benefits of its Complete Streets work as it specifically relates to aging residents in the Department’s latest Safety Education newsletter. Sharing the results of Complete Streets work is a key piece of successful policy implementation.

Saratoga Springs, New York has applied for grant money from the regional planning organization to study its existing street network for strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Cleveland, Ohio‘s Office of Sustainability hosted a workshop for city staff and stakeholders to learn about tools and resources available for multimodal, green street design. These workshops are one of several key steps to successful implementation of the city’s 2011 Complete Streets ordinance.

Coalition News

State Legislation Toolkit Available – Steering Committee member AARP, in collaboration with Coalition staff, released a new Complete Streets advocacy toolkit this month: Complete Streets in the States: A Guide to Legislative Action. This resource was developed to assist state AARP offices and other stakeholders in successful efforts to enact state-level Complete Streets policies. Model legislation, strategic guidance and short implementation-focused case studies are included.

Local Complete Streets Champion Recognized – Smart Growth America recognized Mayor Randy Rhoads of Lee’s Summit, Missouri earlier this month with a 2013 Leadership Award. Mayor Rhoads championed Complete Streets as a part of the city’s LS360 long-term plan and helped bring the first Complete Streets resolution to the region in 2010. Mayor Rhoads has demonstrated a commitment to inclusive planning and worked to make resident voices the heart of LS360.

Welcome Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota – The Coalition welcomes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota to our Steering Committee! Together, we have already provided Complete Streets policies and training to 30 local and regional jurisdictions across Minnesota and look forward to expanding that work. The organization is committed to initiatives that promote physical activity of Minnesotans and is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota supports the Coalition’s work, because Complete Streets policies and implementation make it safer and easier for people to choose active transportation options.

Complete Streets News

Congestion Report Not Only Meaningful Measure of Transportation – The Texas Transportation Institute recently released its annual Urban Mobility Report (UMR), ranking urban regions by level of automobile congestion. David Goldberg of Transportation for America discusses how this narrow measurement misses the mark for communities and their residents. By focusing on the overall congestion level of a region, the report does not account for the actual distances and time it takes people to get to their desired locations. In fact, some “congested” areas see shorter travel times than those with less congestion. With many communities are working to become more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly, relying only on measurements like the UMR become increasingly less relevant in ensuring that our transportation system is safe and effective for all modes of travel. Check out what others are saying about this report in the Atlantic Cities and Streetsblog.

Funding Policies Must Support Complete Streets Initiatives – In Ithaca, New York, policy dictates that property owners take on the full cost of new sidewalks – even when auto travel lanes are covered by government dollars. That policy is setting back progress on a proposed project to bring much needed pedestrian infrastructure to Old Elmira Road, where significant grant money is available for other aspects of the project. Meanwhile, a popular cost-sharing program to replace sidewalks in Chicago will see additional funding this year, helping property owners shoulder less of the costs and provide residents with better places to walk.

Incomplete Intersections – Injuries and fatalities at intersections are often a result of intersection design that ignores the needs of all users. This is especially true for those who must walk along and across wide, fast-moving arterial roads without walking-friendly facilities, such as frequent crosswalks and pedestrian medians. Recent pedestrian injuries at a large intersection in Rockville, Maryland prompted online conversations about the most dangerous intersections in the country. Among the intersections nominated as the nation’s worst by readers of Streetsblog include those in Florida, Nebraska, and Missouri, which have over 30 (!) lanes of traffic, confusing signage, and few to no safe facilities for those on foot. Just reaching the opposite side of these intersections can be confusing and lengthy journeys and often do not provide easy access to bordering shops, schools, or employment centers. People on foot, frustrated by these difficult intersections, then try to take the most direct route (rather than walking over a mile in some cases to the closest crosswalk), often resulting in dangerous collisions.

The Public Safety and Transportation Commission of Bethel, Alaska introduced a Complete Streets ordinance to the city council. If adopted, it would be the first policy in the state.

Montana State Senator Anders Blewett of Great Falls plans to introduce Complete Streets legislation in this session.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is calling on the New Jersey Department of Transportation to follow its Complete Streets policy in repairing roads and bridges damaged in Superstorm Sandy. Doing so, they note, will provide safe, everyday transportation choices and improve communities’ resiliency in future storms.

In the greater Cincinnati, Ohio region, an overwhelming majority of survey respondents said that having the option to walk or bicycle in their communities was important to them.

A coalition of Complete Streets proponents in Memphis, Tennessee garnered media attention this month, where they spoke of the benefits of Complete Streets and the city’s progress in making it a standard practice.

Legislators in Texas have re-introduced Complete Street legislation. The bill is in both houses of the legislature, with SB 565 sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Senator Bob Deuell, MD (R-Greenville), and HB 1102 by Representative Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) and Representative Eddie Lucio III (D-Austin). Texas residents who support the bill and want to address rising pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities are encouraged to sign a petition initiated by BikeTexas.

Complete Streets crusader Kim Irwin was the subject of a cover story in Indiana’s Nuvo last month. Irwin has worked from her post with Health By Design to promote the Complete Streets concept in Indianapolis and across the state and to coordinate efforts among many stakeholder groups. She was vital to the city’s development and adoption of a Complete Streets ordinance.


Request: Your Street Needed in New Guide – The University of Oregon’s Marc Schlossberg is creating an evidence-based catalogue of completed street retrofits from around the country that have made conditions better for people who are walking, biking and taking transit. The final tool will allow planners and engineers across the country to point to these already completed projects as examples when proposing similar solutions in their community. The team is interested in the full range of retrofits, from fairly simple “just paint” to more high-end “signature” projects. Include a project from your community by filling out this simple web form.

Resource: Zoning and Complete StreetsThe February issue of Zoning Practice, by National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee member the American Planning Association, highlights regulatory strategies for promoting Complete Streets. The issue was written by Carol Gould, AICP, and Mike Morehouse from Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc., a Bronze-level Complete Streets Partner firm.

Report: Complete Streets in Idaho – Idaho Smart Growth released a new report that focuses on Complete Streets implementation and connections to public health. Complete Streets: Case Studies from Five Idaho Communities provides important lessons learned from communities across the state that focused on Complete Streets education, engaging diverse stakeholders, forming Active Living Task Forces, and connecting Complete Streets and health goals. A major takeaway is that Complete Streets proponents should engage non-traditional partners including public health professionals in the planning process.

Report: Sustainable and Equitable DevelopmentCreating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities, a report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, shows how low-income, minority and tribal communities can use Smart Growth to improve their neighborhoods through better design. The report notes that Complete Streets strategies improve environmental sustainability, provide low-cost travel options, and boost public health in all types communities. Authors also highlight strategies to promote affordable housing and economic vitality.

Design Guide: Safer Neighborhood Streets – The City of Tacoma, Washington partnered with local elementary school students to write and illustrate a traffic calming primer. The guide, 35 Ways to Safer Neighborhood Streets, includes programs, treatments, and projects to improve safety for people of all ages and make neighborhoods more livable. The project is a great example of how to successfully engage community members, especially youth, who are often left out of the planning process. The Guide is supported by Complete Streets design guidelines adopted by the city in 2009.

Applications Open: National Award for Smart Growth Achievement – Does your community have a winning Complete Streets policy or an inspired built project? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for the 12th Annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Previous winners have included Complete Streets policies and projects, including Lancaster, California’s “The BLVD” project and Charlotte, North Carolina’s Urban Street Design Guidelines. Applications are due April 12, 2013.

Funding Opportunity: Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design – Rural communities with populations of 50,000 or less are encouraged to apply for a workshop to help them develop locally driven solutions to rural challenges. Winning communities will receive a $7,000 grant and technical assistance valued at $35,000. Previous workshops have resulted in funding for projects such as streetscape improvements and waterfront parks. Proposals are due March 5.

Webinar: Wayfinding Systems – Learn how effective planning and proper signage help visitors and residents navigate your community at a webinar hosted by the Sustainable City Network. The free “Signs of the Times: Making the Most of Wayfinding Systems in your Municipality” will be held Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:30 PM EST. Register here.

Conference: National Women’s Bicycling Forum – With a theme of “Women Mean Business,” the second National Women’s Bicycling Forum at the 2013 National Bike Summit will showcase women leaders and highlight the economic impact and rising influence of women in the bicycle movement. The Forum will take place on March 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. Learn more and register online.


“It’s smart for taxpayers. It improves safety. It reduces traffic and it’s good for health, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get it through the Legislature this year.” – State Representative Linda Harper-Brown, Irving, Texas, in an interview with Public News Service

Thank you to our Partners:
Complete Streets Local Leaders Council