Complete Streets News — May 2016

Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Photo Credit: Downtown Indy


Registration is now open for Street Lights — Join the National Complete Streets Coalition at Street Lights: Illuminating Implementation and Equity in Complete Streets, our first-ever Complete Streets conference, taking place on November 15, 2016 in Sacramento, CA. This day-long conference will be a chance for transportation planners and engineers, community, equity, and health advocates, local officials, and Complete Streets practitioners to share ideas, brainstorm solutions, and celebrate the success of the Complete Streets movement nationwide together. Conference registration is $150 for National Complete Streets Coalition partners and $195 for non-partners. Become a partner today and one complimentary registration is included!

#MakeMeCount on Bike to Work Day — This Friday, thousands of people across the country will put on their helmets and take to the streets for National Bike to Work Day, an annual event promoting active commuting options and safer streets. Will you be joining the event? If so, make your ride even more impactful: snap a photo and ask USDOT to #MakeMeCount when it comes to measuring project success.

ICYMI: The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015 — Each year, the National Complete Streets Coalition tracks and analyzes newly passed Complete Streets policies. In case you missed it, this year’s rankings came out in April. The City of Reading, PA’s policy took home the top spot, with the first-ever perfect 100 score. As part of the kickoff, we hosted an online panel discussion, featuring Senator Brian Schatz; Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock; Craig Peiffer of Reading; and Hildy Kingma of Park Forest, IL. The recorded webinar and webinar Q&A are available online.

Webinar Recap: Complete Streets Implementation and Design— Last month we hosted an online discussion about Complete Streets implementation and design. The webinar aimed to assist transportation planners, engineers, and practitioners turn policies on paper into changes on the ground. Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and Mike Rutkowski, Coalition Steering Committee member, guided attendees on how Complete Streets projects can help people and communities and what practitioners need to consider when designing and implementing those projects. Missed the webinar? View the recording here.

Complete Streets in Danville, VA — The National Complete Streets Coalition is in Danville, VA today to lead a workshop focused on policy development. Through hands-on training, our Complete Streets workshop instructors will work with the Virginia Department of Health to lay the foundations of a Complete Streets policy and establish model policy language. For more information on the Complete Streets workshop program, contact Linda Tracy at 406-880-3880, or visit our workshop page.

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 our Policy 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.


Federal implications for safer, more complete streets — The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) made two big moves this month to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets. Both of these updates are great news for anyone advocating for streets that better meet the needs of everyone that uses them, as well as better serving the goals of the surrounding community. If you are working on a local transportation project and your DOT cites vague federal rules when refusing to build a safe and complete street, show them this FHWA memo. FHWA’s guidance makes it extremely clear: there’s wide latitude to design streets to best suit local needs, and old regulations that treat all roads like highways have been rolled back.

NTSB forum recap — Earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held their first-ever forum to address pedestrian safety. NTSB Vice-Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr opened the forum by noting that nearly every two hours a person is killed or injured while walking in the United States — a rising toll since 2009. A major topic of discussion at the forum was the lack of good, reliable information on the cause of increased pedestrian crashes. Read commentary on the forum from Barbara McCann, Director of USDOT’s Office of Safety, Energy and Environment and former director of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Personal data could help cities build safer streets — Earlier this month, Coalition Director Emiko Atherton sat down with NPR to talk about how new apps could help collect data about biking and walking. “We start to look at patterns of how people are using roadways or what streets are bikers using,” she said.

Show me the money: Why Complete Streets make economic sense — In a blog post on Stantec’s website, Senior Transportation Planner Scott Lane explains that if cities and towns took a hard look at the numbers, they would see a strong economic case for creating Complete Streets in their communities. “Cycling alone contributes an estimated $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 1.1 million jobs and generating nearly $18 billion in tax revenues,” he explains.

Comprehensive Bikeway Design 2.0 — Registration is open for Comprehensive Bikeway Design 2.0, an advanced course from Portland State University covering the fundamentals of bikeway design and planning through an intensive week of interactive classroom and field experience and one-on-one problem solving with instructors. The course primarily focuses on improving existing bicycle networks, highlights the latest research and innovative practice, and will provide skills and diverse perspectives to take bike networks to the next level.

Step It Up! Region III Town Hall — The Every Body Walk! Collaborative, with the Department of Health and Human Services, will be hosting a Regional Town Hall on Walking & Walkable Communities on Thursday, May 26. The event is a chance for advocates and organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region to explore ways to come together to answer the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities.

The Parks, Trails, and Health Workbook — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Park Service have created a new tool to help communities encourage physical activity in the natural environment. The Parks, Trails, and Health Workbook: A Tool for Planners, Parks and Recreational Professionals, and Health Practitioners is quick guide for incorporating public health considerations in the development and improvement of a park or trail. This tool can help start collaborative discussions about the health benefits of parks and trails and prepare for a health impact assessment (HIA). The tool includes information to help users find health data and learn about completed HIAs that included parks, trails, or greenways.

Walkable Washington — The Walkable Washington Symposium & Awards will provide helpful resources and networking opportunities to planners, landscape architects, engineers, non-profit leaders, educators, and community advocates in Washington State. Learn more about the event and register to join them in Bellvue, WA on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.


The Westford, MA Board of Selectmen adopted a Complete Streets policy, paving the way for state funding on projects that make Westford’s roadways friendlier for pedestrians and bicyclists. “By adopting a Complete Street policy, the town puts itself in a position to receive state funds for future transportation-related projects,” Selectman Don Siriani said. “The idea here isn’t just to help us guide decision-making with regard to pedestrian safety, motorists, bicyclists… but it also can help leverage funds which enhances the efforts.” The unanimous vote by selectmen joined an array of support from various stakeholders in town such as the Pedestrian Safety Committee, Planning Board, Board of Health, School Committee, and the Westford Police Department.

In adopting a Complete Streets policy, the West Bolyston, MA Board of Selectmen this month put the town on target to, potentially, get a share of state funds. With an estimated $12.5 million available, the town could get up to $50,000 in technical assistance. The catch is the town must have the policy in place, and any projects must consider – but are not required to have – things such as sidewalks, bike lanes and other aspects the state is promoting. “There are no requirements. It gives guidance to the town,” Planning Board member Vincent Vignaly told selectmen before they adopted the policy last week. The town should “consider ways to make it more accessible,” he said. The program is being adopted in many communities as standards for road design are adjusted to include access such as wider sidewalks and bike lanes.

Bicycling is a movement that advocates say is catching on in Howard County, MD and particularly in Columbia, where an existing network of pathways creates a transportation framework for bicyclists and pedestrians. Earlier last month, the County Council marked a major milestone by unanimously passing Bike Howard, a long-awaited master plan that promotes bicycling as a safe and environmentally friendly mode of transportation by creating a network of pathways that connect commercial and residential areas. The Bike Master Plan includes a powerful transportation planning tool called a Complete Streets policy that ensures streets are designed, built and maintained for safe access by all users. “This is really going to be a bikeable and walkable community,” said Greg Fitchitt, vice president of Howard Hughes Corp., downtown Columbia’s master developer.

The groundwork for a more pedestrian friendly Littleton, MA is being laid thanks to the town’s participation in the Massachusetts Complete Streets program. Littleton recently received a $43,222 state grant to develop a prioritization plan for potential projects that could make the town more walkable and safer for bicyclists. “It will be a great opportunity to see where sidewalks are needed in town,” Town Administrator Keith Bergman said. “It’s a good problem to solve and it’s great to have access to funding to complete Complete Streets goals.” The town adopted the Complete Streets policy in December 2013 and is currently in Tier 2 of the program after the state approved Littleton’s policy in February 2016.

The Fort Worth, TX City Council adopted an updated Master Thoroughfare Plan on May 3. The Master Thoroughfare Plan is the long-range plan for major roadways in Fort Worth and is grounded in a Complete Streets philosophy, which means street design supports all transportation users, roads are appropriately sized and they reflect and support the surrounding land uses. The City Council also adopted a Complete Streets Policy. Under the policy, transportation projects that require city approval are directed to consistently plan, design, construct, and maintain streets to allow for safe and comfortable travel by all people, regardless of transportation choice, age or ability.

Medford, MA is close to finalizing a Complete Streets policy aimed at making roads safer and more attractive for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Once complete, the policy will be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for review. If the policy scores 80 out of a possible 100 points, Medford would submit a list of prioritized roadway improvement projects for which the city would receive up to $400,000 in construction funding. “Complete Streets will play a vital role in designing future road projects in Medford,” said Mayor Stephanie M. Burke in a letter reviewing her first 100 days in office. Medford’s participation in the state’s Complete Streets Funding Program marks a new, more strategic approach toward city planning that Jeff Buxbaum thought would take years to set in.

A Massena, NY village trustee says the village board is making progress as they look into drafting a Complete Streets policy. “We’re headed in a good direction,” Trustee Matt Lebire said last month. The board started moving talking about Complete Streets in December following pedestrian safety concerns near J. W. Leary Junior High School. Lebire said the village will take input from groups of citizens. “We’re hearing from citizens’ advisory committees, so it’s not just one board,” he said. At an April 6 Complete Streets forum, Lebire said some of the talk centered around smaller projects. “When resurfacing a road or resealing a road, you could stripe in a different manner to make beneficial to bicyclists or pedestrians,” he said. “You could make a curb cut making it more accessible to the differently abled.”

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Complete Streets Local Leaders Council