Complete Streets News — January 2017


Thanks for joining us at our Complete Streets Dinner — The National Complete Streets Coalition hosted our Seventh Annual Complete Streets Dinner last Tuesday evening, January 10, 2017. More than 60 advocates, supporters, partners, and friends gathered in Washington, DC to mingle, share ideas, and commemorate an eventful year for the Coalition. Guests took advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange ideas before sharing a family-style dinner, featuring guest speaker Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

Introducing “Dangerous by Design” — Between 2005 and 2014, a total of 46,149 people were struck and killed by cars while walking. That averages out to about 13 people per day. Dangerous by Design 2016 takes a closer look at the alarming epidemic of pedestrian deaths. The fourth edition of this report, out last week, once again ranks the most dangerous places for people walking by a “Pedestrian Danger Index,” or PDI. It also explores who is most at risk of being struck and killed by a car while walking, including data that looks at pedestrians by age, race, ethnicity, and income. Missed the report release webinar? View the recording here.

Apply for Complete Streets technical assistance — Applications are open for our free Complete Streets Consortium Series technical assistance. The Consortium Series is an opportunity for three communities from the same state to work closely together to implement Complete Streets. The Consortium Series workshops will be tailored to local contexts and barriers to Complete Streets implementation. If your community is interested in implementing Complete Streets but needs help making it happen, consider partnering with two other communities for this free opportunity. Applications are due Thursday, February 2, 2017.

What new Complete Streets projects can bring to Atlanta — Atlanta voters recently passed several ballot measures that will fund Complete Streets projects in the city. What can residents expect to get out of these new projects? A new video from the Fulton County Partnerships to Improve Community Health in collaboration with the Atlanta Regional Commission and the City of Atlanta details what a Complete Streets approach is all about, and the ways it can make streets safer, healthier, and more convenient for people of all ages and abilities, no matter how they travel in Atlanta. Learn more about Atlanta’s Complete Streets movement.

Send us your Complete Streets policies — Has your community passed a Complete Streets policy? The National Complete Streets Coalition is collecting city, county, regional, and state policies for documentation in our Policy Atlas and Inventory and our Best Complete Streets Policies reports. Any policy passed before December 31, 2016 may be considered for our Best Complete Streets Policies of 2016 report. Please send a PDF copy of your policy to Mary Eveleigh.


USDOT rewrites congestion rule — At long last, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has finalized new requirements for how states and metro areas will have to measure traffic congestion and in the final rule. Responding to the outpouring of comments they received, USDOT backed away from most of the outdated measures of congestion that were proposed. “Tens of thousands of commenters, through campaigns from Transportation for America, the American Heart Association, and others, raised concerns about the vehicle-focused nature of the eight measures proposed in the NPRM,” USDOT wrote in their comments accompanying the new rule.

Webinar: Understanding USDOT’s final congestion rule — The new requirements released last week by USDOT for how states and metro areas will have to measure traffic congestion were just part of a larger package of new performance measures. Join Transportation for America (T4A) next Tuesday, January 24, 2107 at 10:00 AM EST for a webinar unpacking the congestion rule and the rest of the suite of new measures. T4A will walk through the second two—of three total—final rules that cover road, bridge and pavement condition, and overall system performance.

Webinar: Path to A Walkable Future — Walkable communities are the most successful when people come together to create a place where every person has safe, accessible, and enjoyable active transportation. What kind of coalitions and partnerships have worked best in creating walkability? How can walking advocates work with other sectors to create vital and vibrant communities for the future? Join America Walks on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST for a webinar exploring these questions.

Webinar and Guide: Performance management — Transportation systems link people to their daily destinations as well as broader opportunity. And transportation agencies across the country are increasingly interested in measuring how well their systems do this. Many practitioners are not sure where to start on that ambitious goal, but a new guide from the Governors’ Institute on Community Design is designed to show them how. The new guide offers the data, tools, and methodologies transportation officials need to measure access to opportunity, as well as how to integrate these measurements into their planning and investment decisions. Learn more about the guide on our informational webinar, held February 16, 2017 at 2:30 PM EST.

Toronto Complete Streets Guidelines — In 2013, the Toronto City Council requested staff to report back on an approach to developing Complete Streets Guidelines. Since that time, participants have been involved in workshops, public meetings, online surveys, photo contests, walkshops, and bike tours, to examine international best practices, assess current strengths and gaps in Toronto’s street design approach, evaluate recent projects, and explore innovative street design practices. Toronto’s new Complete Streets Guidelines are the product of this collaboration and hard work.

Video analytics towards Vision Zero — Although traffic collisions can happen anywhere, there are often early warning signals in the form of near-miss events at specific locations. Advances in video analytics and machine learning can help identify these signals and inform jurisdictions whose goal is to end traffic deaths on their roadways. For these “Vision Zero” cities, traffic crashes are regarded as preventable incidents that can be systematically addressed. In recognition of these opportunities to enhance public safety, Microsoft Corp. and the City of Bellevue, WA in collaboration with the University of Washington, entered into a partnership to develop video analytics that could fundamentally transform how jurisdictions approach traffic safety analysis.

“Complete Streets” added to the Transportation Research Thesaurus — The Transportation Research Thesaurus (TRT) is a tool to improve the indexing and retrieval of transportation information. New terms are added to the TRT quarterly to reflect current and common transportation-related concepts. Disaster resilience, catchment areas, traffic analysis zones, limit state design, Complete Streets, load and resistance factor design, and geopolymer concrete were added to the TRT in December. These terms, and other recently added terms, are highlighted in the “Newest Terms” box.


New York’s Court of Appeals ruled that New York City, NY and other municipalities can be held liable for failing to redesign streets with a history of traffic injuries and reckless driving. The ruling stems from a crash in 2004, when a driver traveling “at least” 54 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, struck a 12-year-old as he rode a bike. A civil trial jury awarded the bicyclist $20 million, finding the city 40 percent responsible for the crash. “This decision is a game-changer,” says attorney Steve Vaccaro. “The court held that departments of transportation can be held liable for harm caused by speeding drivers, where the DOT fails to install traffic-calming measures even though it is aware of dangerous speeding, unless the DOT has specifically undertaken a study and determined that traffic calming is not required.”

Members of the Mount Hope, WV City Council passed a Complete Streets Policy during their meeting this month. The policy requires the city to consider all modes of transportation when planning transportation improvements. It’s also a big part of Mount Hope’s efforts to provide better walking and bike riding trails for their residents. “We’re…looking at making sure that we have safe routes throughout town not just for recreation and exercise but for getting to the places you simply need to go,” said Andy Davis, Active Southern West Virginia Pedestrian and Bike Coordinator.

The city of Watertown, NY has taken a big step toward making its streets safer. At a council meeting last week, officials adopted a Complete Streets policy. During all future road projects, workers will look into what features can be included to make the area friendly to pedestrians, bicyclists, and people with disabilities. City officials say safety is just one of the benefits this policy can bring. “There’s health and physical fitness. Promoting walking and bicycling certainly gets people out and gets people active. It promotes a healthier community,” said Watertown City Planner Geoffrey Urda.

Littleton, MA was recently awarded $394,970 from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) for its Complete Streets program to make pedestrian safety improvements. MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding Program, authorized in the state’s 2014 Transportation Bond Bill, provides municipalities with incentives to adopt policies promoting safe and accessible roads. Most of the Complete Streets funding will be used to make improvements near the Russell Street Elementary School and Littleton Middle School. Littleton adopted its Complete Streets policy in 2013 after receiving grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

Now that the Portland, CT Board of Selectmen has authorized a policy to guide the creation of a safer and more accessible transportation network in town, the local Complete Streets Group is looking forward to putting the words into action. Kathy Herron, chairwoman of the Portland Complete Streets Group, said one of the group’s first priorities is to help the Board of Selectmen decide how to allocate $1 million for sidewalk improvements approved by voters at referendum in November. The Complete Streets policy was unanimously approved by selectmen in October after review.

Garfield, NJ, driven in part by a commitment to seniors, is looking to act on a policy adopted in 2014 to make its streets safer. As early as next year, it may launch a test of a bicycle and pedestrian path. Garfield is among 13 municipalities in Bergen County to adopt a Complete Streets policy. Although Garfield adopted such a policy in 2014, City Manager Tom Duch said the plan was not implemented. Charles Brown of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center has been advising Garfield, recently suggesting that the city start testing pilot projects to determine what will work.

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