Complete Streets News — May 2015

Photo by Dylan Passmore


Show your support for Safe Streets — Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA-5) and David Joyce (R-OH-14) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2015 (HR 2071) on April 28. The bill would require states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to adopt a Complete Streets policy for planning, designing, and building streets. Representatives Matsui and Joyce were joined by 17 additional original cosponsors from both sides of the aisle:

  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3)
  • Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN-5)
  • Rep. André Carson (D-IN-7)
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26)
  • Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13)
  • Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5)
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11)
  • Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY-19)
  • Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY-3)
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH-6)
  • Rep. David Joyce (R-OH-14)
  • Rep. John Lewis (D-GA-5)
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-2)
  • Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA-6)
  • Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At-Large)
  • Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23)
  • Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-1)
  • Rep. David Valado (R-CA-21)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8)

Join us in supporting the Safe Streets Act by telling your Representative that you care about Complete Streets. It only takes a few minutes. Send a letter today >>

Senator Brian Schatz, joined by eleven colleagues, sent a letter to Senator Jim Inhofe, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging him to promote and prioritize safety for all users in the upcoming reauthorization of federal transportation law. Read more >>

AARP launches Livability Index — The AARP Public Policy Institute introduced its interactive, easy-to-navigate tool to measure quality of life in communities. The Livability Index pulls together data on 40 metrics and 20 policies in categories such as housing affordability, transportation access, air and water quality, and health statistics to create a composite quality of life score for users to compare communities and identify areas of improvement. The Index is searchable by address, city, and zip code, and scores can be weighted by personal preferences. See more >>

Disability advisors call for national Complete Streets policy — The National Council on Disability released a comprehensive report that examines how our transportation system meets the needs of people with disabilities and recommends policy changes to address new and persistent problems. The report urges Congress and the Executive Branch to take concrete steps to improve transportation access for people with disabilities, including the passage of the Safe Streets Act to implement Complete Streets approaches, funding for rural transportation, and improving transit station accessibility. Learn more >>

Designing streets for safety — As part of the New York Times Magazine‘s focus on walking in the city, staff writer Susan Dominus explores how the New York City Department of Transportation has changed its approach to pedestrian safety. Rather than force people into predictable but punitive spaces–which they often flouted anyway–the city now attempts to understand their needs as different than those driving. By slowing vehicle speeds and designing facilities that respond to walking patterns, the agency is better positioned to create safer places for everyone. Read more >>


Separated bike lane design guidance is here! — Federal Highway Administration released its long-awaited document on planning and designing physically-separated bicycle facilities within or adjacent to roadways. More commonly called cycle tracks or protected bike lanes, these facilities are an important tool in creating networks of Complete Streets that are safe and appealing for people of all ages, incomes, and racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. The guide, with many useful renderings, is available as a freely downloadable PDF and as a web-based document. Read more >>

Evaluating economic benefits of walking and bicycling — A new white paper from the Federal Highway Administration describes various methods for evaluating the economic impact of bicycling and walking infrastructure at the project, neighborhood, and community-wide scale. Understanding the available tools and when they’re best applied will help transportation professionals better understand how people directly and indirectly benefit from non-motorized transportation, both individually and societally. A corresponding webinar will be offered on June 4 at 2 pm ET. Register >>

Mayors’ Challenge Webinar — This Friday, May 22, America Walks will host a webinar with mayors from Memphis, Salt Lake City, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and Hernando, Mississippi who have signed up for Secretary Foxx’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets. The mayors will discuss how they leverage walking and bicycling improvements to cultivate active and economically thriving communities and their plans to meet the Challenge. Register >>

Improving crash reports — Gathering more complete data when bicycle-crashes occur give policy-makers, planners, and designers better data in creating streets. A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that adding variables such as vehicle and bicycle impact points, turning maneuvers, and type of bicycle facility to police reports revealed differences in the severity of injuries from crashes. The authors propose changes to vehicle-bicycle crash reports based on their review of state reporting systems. Read more >>

Quick reference for walking and bicycling guides — If you’re tired of flipping through a half dozen design manuals to compare guidance on pedestrian and bicycle design, this resource is for you. The Federal Highway Administration and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center created a Design Resource Index with three matrices: On-Street Bicycle Facilities, Shared Use Paths, and Pedestrian Facilities. Each matrix shows where to find design guidance from national organizations such as ITE, NACTO, AASHTO, FHWA, and the U.S. Access Board. Read more >>

Safe Routes to School programs work — Active Living Research published a new review on benefits of Safe Routes to School programs and infrastructure improvements, with an emphasis on more recent research with study designs that can infer causal connections. The research synthesis contains fascinating nuggets of information. For example, adding sidewalks or improving intersections was associated with a 18% increase in walking and biking rates over five years. Read more >>

Better bicycle networks mean more bicycle trips — New research provides evidence that the quality of the bicycle network raises the rate of people who bike to work. Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a network analysis of bicycle infrastructure in 74 medium and large sized U.S. cities, analyzing networks for gaps that forced significant detours through unsafe roads. Bicycle commuter rates also were positively associated with network density. Read more >>

Mapping access to transit — Two agencies recently mapped how convenient it is for people to access transit stations in their regions. The Washington DC region’s transit agency, WMATA, used both formal walking routes and informal routes from crowd-sourced data to create “walksheds” around stations. The walkshed maps show pedestrian links (or the absence of links) within a half-mile of stations and will inform the agency’s key performance indicators. The North Central Texas Council of Governments, covering the Dallas region, analyzed trails, sidewalks, and bikeways within a half-mile radius of 74 light rail and commuter rail stations. The resultant maps will help identify where future projects could better connect transit stops to neighborhoods.


Glendale, CA‘s City Council voted to fund the redesign of Harvard and Louise Streets in downtown to shorten crossing distances, add mid-block crossings, and incorporate rain gardens. Read more >>

Sacramento‘s Department of Public Works has called for a network of safe bicycling facilities be completed within 20 years as part of an effort to drastically reduce crashes and injuries. Read more >>

A new tool from SANDAG, San Diego‘s Metropolitan Planning Organization, helps planners, advocates, and policy-makers compare neighborhoods in the region based on demographics, education, economy, employment, and environment, including income inequality, concentrated poverty, access to mainstream financial services, and school proximity to traffic. Read more >>

The first phase of CTfastrak, a bus rapid transit system running between Hartford and New Britain, CT, had more than 150,000 riders in first five weeks of service–far above initial estimates. Read more >>

Chicago Alderman Roderick Sawyer has requested a Complete Streets redesign of State Street in his ward, transforming a “grim” stretch into a place for neighborhood businesses and improved access to train stations for those on foot. While designs are still being considered, the changes will be made as part of a resurfacing project. Read more >>

Flint, MI‘s Harrison Street will be rightsized later this year, with the help of a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. “We think it’s really important for residents and visitors to be able to get around the downtown in ways that are safe, low-cost, healthy and sustainable,” said Alicia Kitsuse, program officer for the foundation. “We also believe a strong and vibrant downtown is essential to the future of Flint and Genesee County, and we think this project will contribute to that.” Read more >>

A group of retired generals in Minnesota made the national security case for creating walk and bike-friendly communities to fend off chronic diseases that impact both potential recruits as well as active service members. Almost seventy percent of young adults in Minnesota are unfit for duty. Read more >>

Saint Louis, MO will soon have rich data on how people walk, bicycle, or drive around town, thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation to develop high-tech sensors. Read more >>

Missoula, MT is finishing up its work on Third Street this summer, adding new roadway asphalt, curbs, sidewalks, bike lanes, storm drainage and a center turn lane. Read more >>

Lancaster, PA will move ahead with plans to convert Mulberry Street from a one-way to a two-way street. The change is expected to improve safety by curbing speeding, and will include bike lanes, rain gardens, and new trees. Read more >>

Pittsburgh, PA implemented its first count of people bicycling and walking in several neighborhoods. Understanding where people do and don’t walk or bicycle will help direct investments to fulfill its Complete Streets policy. Read more >>

Complete Streets supporters in Wisconsin have been working hard to save the state’s Complete Streets law from being cut by Governor Walker’s recent budget proposal. Gannett Central Wisconsin Media’s Rober Mentzer penned a column about the long-term importance of building streets that are safe for walking and bicycling and made the point that “In a given week, I use several different modes of getting around. That’s what most people do–and our roads should reflect that. Where there aren’t sidewalks or bike lanes, we’re all less able to decide the form of transportation that’s best for us.” Racine’s Mayor John Dickert noted that a repeal would make things more difficult for his city, adding, “As we redo roadways we redo everything for efficiency–water, sewer, utilities, bike lanes, LED lights. What the governor is saying in his proposal is that they don’t want to be efficient, which I can’t comprehend.” And Carrie Diamond, a resident in Plover, wrote a letter to the editor of the Stevens Point Journal in which she says “Any costs of building Complete Streets, which are difficult to quantify, are offset by the long-term benefits to the community and the policy can even extend the life of roads.” Stay up to date on the campaign with the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation >>

New Complete Streets policies

Thank you to our Partners

A big thank you to our renewing Platinum Partners (and Steering Committee members), Stantec and NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates! We are glad to have the support of some renewing Bronze Partners as well: MMM Group, Inc., Freese and Nichols, Inc., and Traffic Engineers, Inc.

Interested in supporting the Complete Streets movement and the Coalition’s work? Join or renew as a Complete Streets Partner today!

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