Complete Streets News – June 2014

Policy Adoption

In May, the City of Somerville became the latest Massachusetts jurisdiction to adopt a Complete Streets policy, and the first in the state to do so by ordinance.

Two Montana towns, Sidney and Hamilton, adopted Complete Streets policies in June, adding to the list of rural communities that recognize the importance of making streets work for everyone who uses them.

New Jersey continues to lead the nation in the number of communities with Complete Streets on the books. In the last month, the Coalition learned about eight recently adopted policies, including those in East Windsor, Elizabeth, Hightstown, Hillsborough, Pennington, South Brunswick, Summit, and Tenafly. These additions put the state’s total policy count over 100 at all levels of state and government.

New York State has also been steadily adding policies. The Lake Erie City of Dunkirk adopted a Complete Streets policy on May 20. Two days later, the City of Troy, in the Capital District, passed an ordinance adding Complete Streets as part of its city code.

Policy Action

Fast Company reported on the incremental steps Phoenix, AZ, is taking to turn itself into a more walkable city, including building light rail and reforming the zoning code to make walkable places easier to build. The Phoenix-area metropolitan planning organization adopted Complete Streets design guidelines for the region in 2011 and the city is currently working on its own policy.

Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, CA, is one of the city’s most important—and crowded—routes for people traversing the city by almost every available mode. An upcoming redesign of the corridor under Complete Streets principles will improve safety and, according to the East Bay Express, potentially boost local businesses.

Washington, DC’s new long-term transportation plan was released early this month. MoveDC builds on a solid Complete Streets foundation that prioritizes pedestrians and uses a layered network approach to balancing the needs of different modes.

Amanda Martinez, Interim Planning Director in Deerfield Beach, FL, and a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, recently discussed the city’s Complete Streets guidelines, road diets, and making the most of opportunities to improve the transportation network in cost-effective ways. Read more >>

Cook County, IL, and several municipalities including Oak Park are collaborating on projects to improve multimodal connectivity throughout Chicago’s western suburbs. Oak Park passed one of the best Complete Streets policies in the country in 2012.

In February, the Anne Arundel, MD, County Council directed the establishment of a Complete Streets program and ordered the revision of design guidelines and planning documents to incorporate Complete Streets principles. The county’s new Complete Streets program launched in May.

Charlottesville, VA, recently completed several days of workshops designed to gather public input on their future of the transportation system. Walkability,  bike-friendliness, street trees and a better match between where people live and work emerged as key areas for the city to address. Read about the results >>

Federal Policy Update

The US Department of Transportation extended the deadline for comments on its safety performance measure proposed rulemaking, but less than two weeks remain until the comment period closes. The proposed rules don’t hold states accountable for making real improvements in safety and must separate measures for non-motorized and motorized travelers. Join us in urging USDOT to adopt strong rules that expect states to make real progress.

The Safe Streets Act, which would require states and metropolitan planning organizations to provide for the safety of all users in their transportation projects, continues to gather steam in both houses of Congress. The Senate version of the bill, S. 2004, gained five more cosponsors recently: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) all signed on over the past month. Ask your Senators and Representative to join in supporting Complete Streets, or thank them for doing so already.

Coalition News

A new report from Smart Growth America, Foot Traffic Ahead, ranks America’s 30 largest metropolitan areas according to several dimensions of walkability. Authored by Christopher Leinberger and Patrick Lynch of the George Washington University School of Business, the report goes beyond central city/suburban distinctions to identify regionally significant “walkable urban places,” or “WalkUPs,” that can be found anywhere in a metro area. Washington DC ranks first in the study, beating out even New York City and Chicago, and the second tier of cities also contains some surprises, like Atlanta and Denver. Read more >>

The May issue of the American Planning Association’s Planning magazine (the annual transportation issue) featured a long piece on the maturity of the Complete Streets movement. Boston serves as a case study on the power of Complete Streets principles to transform our streets and cities into safer, more livable places.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Kaid Benfield, a founder and board member of Smart Growth America, recently examined what the Coalition’s Dangerous by Design 2014 and the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s 2014 Benchmarking Report tell us about building safer pedestrian environments, and the virtuous circle that can ensue from more people walking.

Recent Complete Streets workshops facilitated by the Coalition’s corps of professional instructors included sessions in Kenosha, WI, Lancaster, PA, and Portsmouth, NH. Over the next month, the Coalition will also conduct workshops in Memphis, TN, and the upstate New York communities of Jamestown, Queensbury, and Rochester. Learn more about our workshop program >>

Thank you, Partners! The Coalition thanks its renewing Bronze Partners Urban Engineers for being an official part of the Complete Streets movement.

Support the Coalition’s work by becoming a Partner today. Upgrade or join today and receive a signed copy of Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks by Barbara McCann.

Complete Streets News

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign noted a correlation between how metro areas rank in the Coalition’s Dangerous by Design 2014 and in the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2014 American Fitness Index. The safer a region is for pedestrians, the higher its fitness rating is likely to be. This points to important public health implications of good pedestrian design that go beyond just preventing crashes.

Community members in Little Rock, AR, are helping bring a local Complete Streets policy closer to adoption. The Planning Commission approved a draft policy on June 12, referring the policy to the City Board of Directors for consideration next month.

The first 15 sites have been announced for Los Angeles’s Great Streets program, which will target streets in up to 40 neighborhoods across the city. Using an incremental approach that begins with temporary treatments and moves to more permanent improvements, the program is also intended to support neighborhood businesses through improved street design throughout LA.

In the wake of Dangerous by Design 2014, the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a series putting a human face on the epidemic of pedestrian deaths in the Atlanta region. The series also examines the shortcomings in the data collected about pedestrian traffic crashes, and how this hampers efforts to fix systemic problems.

CityLab takes a look at a Cleveland suburb where almost everybody walks or bikes to school. In Lakewood, OH, density, smart school siting and Complete Streets make that car-free mile possible.

Some state transportation departments are starting to take declining vehicle miles traveled (VMT) into account. In Portland, OR, a highway expansion is being downsized, with Oregon DOT citing VMT projections that are 20% lower than those used during project scoping.

Residents of Bill, WY, are asking the state transportation department to lower speeds on a state highway that passes through their tiny, no stop-light town. The two-lane Highway 59 has seen a huge increase in truck traffic (and crashes) due to the region’s coal and oil boom, but WYDOT says that reduced speeds might be too dangerous for the 3,000 vehicles that pass through the hamlet every day.


Research: Modern Protected Bike Lanes — A major study by Portland State University’s National Institute of Transportation and Communities looks at modern protected bike lanes in five U.S. cities. Evaluating data from manual counts and video recordings, as well as user and resident surveys, the researchers found that protected bike lanes have major positive impacts on ridership, rider safety (both observed and perceived) and comfort, among other measures.

Report: Every Bicyclist Counts — The League of American Bicyclists issued a new national report documenting the deaths of people on bicycles over a 12-month period and comparing their own findings to official fatality data. Researchers found high numbers of bicyclist deaths occurred on arterial roads and that 40 percent of bicyclist deaths were a result of being struck by a driver from behind. The report intersperses biographies and photographs of some of the people who were killed while riding bicycles during the year, putting a very real face on the tragedies.

Webinar: Accessing Census Data — The National Highway Institute will host a webinar on using American Community Survey 5-year data from the Census Transportation Planning Products package. The free webinar is on June 26 from 1–3pm ET.

Webinar: Livability and Level of Service — A webinar from the National Highway Institute intended for state DOTs and other practitioners who are trying to balance Level of Service performance measures and livability. It will focus in part on the alternative performance metrics already in use in a number of jurisdictions. The free webinar is July 22, 2:30–4:00pm ET.

Call for Proposals: New Partners for Smart Growth — The Local Government Commission is currently accepting session proposals for the next New Partners for Smart Growth conference, January 29–31, 2015 in Baltimore, MD. The proposal deadline is July 11th.

Call for Nominations: National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement — EPA is accepting applications for the 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, which a number of Complete Streets policies and projects have won in past years. The competition is open to public, private and non-profit entities in the categories of Built Projects; Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization; Plazas, Parks, and Public Places; and Policies, Programs, and Plans. Application deadline is September 5, 2014.

Call for data: Sustainable Urban MobilityThe Evidence Project, a cooperative program of several European universities, is soliciting data from all sectors and regions on the economic benefits of sustainable transportation, transportation demand management, and mobility management. Academic papers, reports and studies, and implementation examples are welcome.


“The future of cities belongs to the people. The future requires all people to understand that we can either build transportation through our cities; or we can build our cities through transportation.”
Dan Burden, Director, Walkable and Livable Cities Institute

“We were trying to say, here’s a connected network that addresses the fundamental vision of the transportation system…So we ended up with this policy framework, which then translates into infrastructure, that says, ‘Every street’s going to prioritize pedestrians. Every street’s going to accommodate vehicles. And every street is going to do something else.'”
Sam Zimbabwe, Associate Director of DDOT’s Policy, Planning, and Sustainability Administration, on Washington DC’s new transportation plan, MoveDC

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