Complete Streets News — March 2016


Supporters spoke out for safer streets,  USDOT listened — Thanks to advocates like you, all Americans will be safer on our streets. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation released a much-improved ruling for how states and metro areas should measure — and be held accountable for improving — the safety of streets for everyone that uses them. Learn more >>

Submitting a great TIGER grant application— Is your community thinking about applying for a 2016 TIGER grant? Get tips about how to submit a great application during a free webinar with Smart Growth America next Thursday, March 24 at 4:00pm EDT. Register to join >>

Complete Streets in Fort Worth, TX — The National Complete Streets Coalition, in coordination with AARP, visited Fort Worth, TX this month to lead a policy development and implementation workshop. Through hands-on training, we worked with city staff to establish policy language and draft implementation steps effective at the community level. For more information on the Complete Streets workshop program, contact Linda Tracy at 406-880-3880, or visit our workshop page.

2016 Benchmarking Report — In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with support from the National Complete Streets Coalition, the Alliance for Biking and Walking published its biennial Benchmarking Report this month. A look at the most recent data on levels of biking and walking shows that some communities (e.g., people of color, people with low income, and people age 65 and older) are walking as their primary mode of transportation at higher rates than their distribution within the population. Youth (under age 16) are biking at higher rates, while women are biking at lower rates—at least according to the data.

Fast facts on the FAST Act — The FAST Act is the first federal transportation bill to ever include language on Complete Streets, but how exactly do these provisions help ensure the safety of all users? A new resource from the National Complete Streets Coalition provides an overview of Complete Streets in the FAST Act as well as useful resources for navigating federal funding sources. Download the FAST Act Fact Sheet.

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 ourPolicy 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.


Spotlight on Highway Safety — A newly released report by The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates a 10 percent increase in the number of persons on foot killed in traffic crashes in 2015, compared with the prior year. The GHSA Spotlight on Highway Safety Report provides the first look at 2015 pedestrian fatality trends, based on preliminary data reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia. Comparing the number of pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2015 with the same time period the previous year, the researchers anticipate the final 2015 pedestrian fatality total will be 10 percent higher than in 2014.

Calling all elected leaders of rural communities — Are you a local elected official in a rural community and interested in smart growth strategies? Later this spring, Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council will launch the new Rural Leaders Network, a group of elected and appointed leaders from rural communities across the country. The Network will be an opportunity for rural leaders to share ideas, collaborate, network, and learn how a smart growth approach can work in rural places. Requests to join the Rural Leaders Network are now being accepted. Learn more >>

New tools for a new era — America’s cities, towns, and suburbs are rapidly changing and evolving, and transportation investments are playing a catalytic role in transforming communities. But all too often, major transportation projects are disruptive to the surrounding community, and frequently impact or even displace existing residents and businesses. A new resource from Transportation for America highlights creative placemaking, a movement that can lead to better projects and build relationships between the public and planners by using arts and culture to more genuinely reflect what makes a community unique.

2016 Walking College — Looking for a way to gain the skills and knowledge needed to make your community more walkable? America Walks is excited to announce the opening of applications for the second year of The Walking College. The Walking College is an interactive, online educational program for walkable community advocates. Learn more at an informational webinar on March 31 at 2:00pm EDT with Program Director Ian Thomas and several former fellows. Register to join >>.

Health impacts of transportation decisions — Join the American Public Health Association (APHA) Tuesday, March 22, 1:00pm EDT for a webinar discussing The Transportation and Health Tool. Released in the fall of 2015 by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with support from APHA, the tool uses 14 transportation and health indicators to measure how transportation affects health. The tool also proposes strategies, interventions, and policies to improve health outcomes, and gives practitioners a way to examine the health impacts of transportation systems. Register here.

Open Streets Toolkit  In order to assist communities of all shapes and sizes in moving forward with Open Streets, the Healthiest Practice Open Streets program has put together a comprehensive toolkit.  This kit includes information on how to get started, how to engage community partners and volunteers, how to create and use marketing tools, and more. ‘Open Streets’ are community-based programs that temporarily open selected streets to people, by closing them to cars. By doing this the streets become places where people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds can come out and improve their health.


The Florissant, MO City Council passed a bill this month approving a Complete Streets Policy. City Engineer Tim Barrett spoke to the council about the Complete Streets Policy, stating all streets should be safe for all vehicles, including bicycles and wheelchairs. “A Complete Streets ordinance directs the city to routinely look for opportunities to enable safe access for all users,” Barrett said. He added that Complete Streets programs are important when applying for grants. The city will partner with TrailNet to develop bike and pedestrian master plan for the city.

Norman, OK is planning another Complete Street for the city’s growing east side. “We’re making history,” Ward 1 Councilor Greg Heiple said. “This is the first time the east side is equally weighted in the road projects.” With construction expected to begin in winter 2018, the 24th Avenue project is in the design phase, which included an initial public meeting last week. Atkins Design Consultant Daniel Humphrey said the street widening will accommodate growing traffic needs and will make the streets safer for multimodal forms of transportation. “We’re very pleased, and we encourage the speed limit to stay between 35 and 40 miles per hour,” Bicycle Advisory Committee chair Tom Woodson said. The committee worked with city staff to identify bicycle routes through Norman and to promote constructing Complete Streets.

Slowly, some of Phoenix, AZ’s streets are getting dramatic makeovers. While these projects may limit future traffic, advocates of Complete Streets are welcoming the city’s steady embrace of what some call a key solution to city health and safety issues. At a meeting last week, Phoenix officials invitedthe public to view plans and voice opinions on a proposed redesign of Third Street. Public meetings like this have cultivated public support needed to present plans to the Phoenix Infrastructure and Transportation subcommittee. If approved, final designs will emerge later this year with construction starting in 2017. “It’s a balance between the needs of the residents and the commuters, but if we need to take a side, it’s going to be the residents,” said Mark Melnychenko of the Phoenix Street Transportation Department. “What we want to do is add additional modes and choices and we want to make those safe.”

The development of a Complete Streets plan for the city of Bowling Green, OH took a minor step forward last week. The transportation and safety committee met for the purpose of discussing the proposal. Following the city council meeting, chairman John Zanfardino summarized the meeting stating, “Our next step is to develop a further detailed design of the initial network map…The Complete Streets program is consistent with the city’s land use plans.” Jason Sisco, the city engineer, addressed the committee and illustrated how the program could affect two upcoming paving projects.

Selectmen endorsed a policy to bring Complete Streets to Lexington, MAduring a meeting last month. “What we’re doing is taking the proposal drafted by town staff, capturing a lot of what we already do, and putting it into the language of the Complete Streets policy,” said Selectman Chairman Joe Pato. “The task here was largely to put on paper those things that we’re doing and those small changes we’re looking to make to make us conformant to the Complete Streets program.” The Massachusetts Department of Transportation endorsed the Complete Streets Funding Program which calls for a holistic approach to designing roadways and sidewalks. The state department will aid towns in determining where development is needed through technical assistance by way of a needs assessment, a network gap analysis, and a safety audit.

Moving forward, Stillwater, OK’s streets should be designed with all users in mind. The city council approved the draft of a new transportation policy Monday that embraces the complete streets philosophy, a design process that takes into account the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians, automobiles and even public transit users. “The goal is that no form of transportation sacrifices for any other,” External Services Director John McClenny said. In addition to increasing safety, designing traffic lanes to a particular width and standard based on their use could also save money because the pavement doesn’t have to be as thick for a bike lane. Councilor Joe Weaver said he wants to be sure the city is especially mindful of the needs of pedestrians, ensuring it provides handicapped-accessible curb cuts, areas where pedestrians can cross the street safely and adequate sidewalks.

Complete Streets