Complete Streets News – November 2013

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Policy Adoption

The Peru, IN City Council unanimously approved a Complete Streets ordinance on November 4, and the community is already discussing its first project under the new paradigm. The Miami County YMCA led the policy efforts, working with the Mayor, City Council members, and other local partners. The Indiana Complete Streets Coalition helped facilitate the partnerships via a workshop in April. “This whole program is more than what we just want,” said Tom Gustin, District 2 councilman, “It’s what we need.” Read more >>

Policy Action

In California, a new law (SB743) allows analyses under the California Environmental Quality Act to consider multimodal connectivity, diversity of land uses, proximity to transit, parking replacement, and other measures in assessing major infrastructure projects’ air quality impacts. Increased traffic congestion, as measured by Level of Service, meanwhile, will no longer be considered a significant environmental impact for projects located within a half mile of major transit stops. (Sacramento Bee)

New research is helping the Colorado Department of Transportation implement its 2009 Complete Streets policy by creating an automated process for estimating the annual average of daily walking and bicycling travelers, as it already does for drivers. Read more >>

The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization in southeastern Florida has awarded $5 million to the community of Hollywood Beach to implement the regional Complete Streets approach on its signature boulevard. (Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinal)

The Florida Department of Transportation and the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization have agreed to extend a Complete Streets makeover of 15th Street East, providing better connections for all modes along the corridor. Florida has had a Complete Streets law since 1984. (Bradenton Times)

New Orleans, LA, is putting its 2011 Complete Streets policy to work as recovery funding winds down and the city looks toward a new post-Katrina normal. With an internal advisory committee coordinating Complete Streets implementation among municipal agencies, the city is moving ahead with dozens of projects to improve safety and connectivity for the many New Orleanians who get around without cars. Read more on our blog >>

Boston, MA published the 2013 edition of its Complete Streets Design Guidelines, a comprehensive guide that encompasses safe multimodal street design, green infrastructure, and smart technology. Unveiled in late October, the Guidelines are available for free online. Read more >>

Lincoln, NE is implementing its new Complete Streets policy on N Street, building a new two-way protected bikeway through downtown. Riders on the new bikeway will be protected from auto traffic by a parking lane and median with a bioswale. Many crossing distances for people on foot will be shortened as part of the project, and areas where foot, bicycle, and car traffic mix will be marked by bright green pavement to remind all road users to stay alert for conflicts. Read more >>

Five New Jersey communities — North Wildwood, Lambertville, Montclair, Newark and Hoboken — were lauded for their outstanding Complete Streets implementations, and Rebecca Hoeffler of Cranford and the Trenton Green Team received awards for their work as champions of the policies passed in their cities. The summit was organized by the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers and supported by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association. Read more >>

Despite ranking first in the nation for the percentage of traffic fatalities that are people on foot or bicycles, the New York Department of Transportation proposes to cut funding for pedestrian and bicycle safety projects by more than 40 percent. NYSDOT’s 2013 Draft Transportation Improvement Program, which guides transportation funding in the state from 2014–2017, cuts more than $100 million from funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and safety medians. New York adopted a statewide Complete Streets legislation in 2011, but this budget would severely hamper its implementation. Read more >>

A new report from the New York City Department of Transportation focuses on how good street design improves safety and mobility for all users. “Making Safer Streets” looks at crash and injury data before and after dozens of street redesign projects, finding that road geometry, signals, markings, and signs can have a major impact on the safety of an intersection or corridor. Reductions in crashes with injuries ranged from 12% to 88% at individual sites studied, and the city has seen a significant reduction in serious crash injuries over the past 12 years. This systematic evaluation of the city’s re-engineering efforts should be a model for other communities implementing Complete Streets. Read more >>

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation issued a notice on October 24 directing its consultants to use the ITE Recommended Practice Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach where “prudent and feasible” on all RIDOT projects. Application of this document will aid the state as it implements its 2012 Complete Streets legislation. (Rhode Island Coalition for Transportation Choices)

Seattle and Sound Transit are employing a host of state-of-the-practice elements in their current work to redesign the Broadway corridor for all users, in accordance with the city’s 2007 Complete Streets ordinance. When finished, the corridor will host a new streetcar line, a protected two-way bikeway, and numerous improvements for those on foot. (Greater Greater Washington, Seattle Bike Blog)

The City Council in Salt Lake City, UT, adopted a new circulation and streetscape plan for the Sugar House neighborhood, including a conversion of Highland Drive that removes excess travel lanes in each direction and add a center left-turn lane and bike lanes on both sides of the road. Improving the environment for people on foot or riding bikes is especially important in the area because the new S Line streetcar will begin serving Sugar House’s dense commercial district next month. A planned extension of the line is already attracting considerable commercial investment to the neighborhood. Read more >>

Eight new communities have been recognized for their commitment to safe walking environments, including four at the Silver level and four at the Bronze. Three of the new Silver Level cities — Asheville, NC, Montclair, NJ, and Tallahassee, FLBloomington, IN, and La Crosse, WI — have Complete Streets policies. The Coalition congratulates the newest Walk Friendly Communities! Implementing a policy in your town? Be sure to apply for the next round of recognition >>

Coalition News

Applications now accepted for free workshops — For the third year, Smart Growth America is offering free assistance to local communities interested in building stronger local economies and creating great neighborhoods. These workshops will be awarded to a limited number of qualifying communities. The Coalition’s Complete Streets workshops are among the 12 types offered. Applications are due by Friday, December 6 at 5:00 PM ET. Learn more >>

Coalition expertise shared nationwide — In the last month, members of our workshops instructors corps have been in Kansas, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. In Lawrence, Kansas, instructor Cynthia Hoyle was joined by Steering Committee Darren Smith of the National Association of Realtors® at a workshop hosted at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. “We’re trying to maximize the potential of the streets for everyone who uses them,” said Smith. Coalition founder and instructor Barbara McCann and instructor Michael Dannemiller helped jurisdictions in Hennepin County, Minnesota understand how to overcome some of the challenges to implementing Complete Streets. And, last week, Instructors Roger Henderson and Seleta Reynolds facilitated discussions about what Complete Streets means for Oklahoma City. Want to advance the Complete Streets discussion in your community? Check out our workshops program!

Endorse the new Urban Street Design Guide — In September, Coalition Steering Committee member National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) unveiled a new design manual for city streets, which provides key discussion and guidance on emerging best practices. Join with other cities, states, and counties in endorsing this key tool in Complete Streets implementation via NACTO’s campaign today and help ensure these strategies be accepted by and applied at all levels of government.

Completing Our Streets — The Coalition published two more excerpts from the new book by founder Barbara McCann, which Kaid Benfield at NRDC reviewed this month. In the first of our excerpts, McCann explains how a more inclusive process brings better built projects. In the second, she discusses the ways public transportation agencies and users could be the biggest beneficiaries from a Complete Streets approach. In Seattle? Catch McCann, Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, Transportation for America’s David Goldberg, and Futurewise’s Hillary Franz at Town Hall on November 25.

Thank you Complete Streets Partners! — The Coalition first thanks to SvR Design Company, which continues to support and lead the Coalition as a Platinum Partner and a member of our Steering Committee. We also wish to thank T.Y. Lin International, which upgraded to Gold Partner this year. And we appreciate our renewing Bronze Partners, Synergy LLC and the American Public Works Association. Support the Coalition’s work by becoming a Partner today! Upgrade or join and receive a signed copy of Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks by Barbara McCann.

Complete Streets News

Traffic deaths on the rise, worse for pedestrians and bike riders — After six straight years of decreases, the total number of traffic fatalities in 2012 rose by almost 1,100 to 33,561, a 3.3% increase over 2011. Serious injuries were up by 145,000, a 6.5% increase. People on foot and bicycle bore the brunt of the harm, with 6.4% more pedestrians and 6.5% more bicycle riders killed than the year before, and serious injuries to pedestrians up 10%. Overall, almost 5,700 people outside of cars were killed in traffic crashes in 2012 (16.9% of the total fatalities), while 135,000 (5% of the total) were injured. Read more >>

New federal bill introduced, aims to improve road safety — In response to the need for safe streets for people walking and bicycling, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate introduced the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act (HR 3494 and S 1708). The bills direct the creation of metrics for states to assess and address “serious injuries and fatalities per vehicle mile traveled” and “the number of serious injuries and fatalities” for non-motorized transportation modes. Walking and bicycling metrics are not emphasized in current law.

Performance measures for Complete Streets — Streetsblog looks into why automobile Level of Service (LOS), traditionally used to measure the success of a transportation project, won’t cut it for communities looking to broaden their goals beyond quickly moving vehicles. Interviewing Jeffrey Tumlin of Complete Streets Partner firm NelsonNygaard and Ron Milam of Fehr & Peers, reporter Angie Schmitt highlights some issues with Multimodal Level of Service (MMLOS) and the potential use of comfort and accessibility measures.

Walk Score debuts 2014 rankings and new methodology — Walk Score, a leading metric for communities evaluating their walkability and individuals evaluate housing options with nearby amenities, released its list of the most walkable cities and neighborhoods. It’s no surprise that the majority of top-ranking communities have made a commitment to Complete Streets. This year’s rankings are also a reflection of a more sophisticated algorithm that better reflects pedestrian friendliness, number of nearby amenities, and travel times.

Phoenix, AZ will vote on new Complete Streets design standards in early 2014, making way for more streets to be like the recently redesigned Grand Avenue. Ruban Gonzelez, a business owner on Grand, supports the new design, saying “When you slow traffic down, people tend to look what’s around them, and with that happening, this shop has never been busier.” (KJZZ)

Russellville, AR‘s experience implementing Complete Streets on several projects earned them a spotlight at the state’s Sustainable Communities Leadership Summit. About his town’s experience with Complete Streets, Mayor Bill Eaton said, “We can and should ask what policies and practices that we have foster a thriving economy, people and community. We should always ask how we can build cities that our children and grandchildren will want to call home.” (Russellville Courier)

A redesign of Grand Junction, CO‘s North Avenue to improve safety and comfort for all users will help anchor redevelopment efforts along the corridor. (KKCO 11 News)

Middletown, CT‘s Complete Streets Committee will present specific plans to make streets and intersections safer for all users at a December 3 meeting. (MiddletownPatch)

A Complete Streets forum in Norwalk, CT gave residents an opportunity to share ideas that would make walking, bicycling, and driving safer via new designs for several city streets. (Norwalk Citizen)

Muscatine, IA is considering adoption of a Complete Streets policy to support the goals of its Comprehensive Plan and its participation in the Blue Zones program. (Muscatine Journal)

More people are living in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but a report from the region’s metropolitan planning organization finds that car use is down overall, as residents shift away from driving alone and take advantage of the region’s many transportation options, including transit, walking, biking, and carpooling. (MinnPost)

Plattsburgh, NY residents and business owners brought Complete Streets solutions to their elected officials in hopes of improving safety and slowing traffic along Margaret Street. (Plattsburgh Press Republican)

The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced its Multimodal Access Fund last month, which will help local jurisdictions build projects that improve walking, bicycling, and transit options. Selected projects will receive a 95 percent match from the DOT. “Improving the facilities for walking, biking, and transit is essential to the continued growth and success of our towns and cities,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.

Incomplete Streets Deaths: Juge Brooks and Elizabeth Maze — The Las Vegas, Nevada, intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Balzar Avenue became the focus of neighborhood demonstrations after Juge Brooks, 60, was killed crossing the street there on November 1. Elizabeth Maze, 78, had been killed crossing the same street in her wheelchair on September 19. Both Brooks and Maze were hit in marked crosswalks that were nearly a quarter mile from any traffic signal along the six-lane road, spurring residents to demand safety improvements along the corridor. On November 18, the city announced that it was lowering the speed limit on that stretch of MLK Blvd. from 45 to 35 mph and adding pedestrian hybrid beacons at the crosswalks.


Brief and Webinar: Snow removal on pathways and at transit stops — A new brief from Easter Seals Project Action discusses effective snow removal strategies to ensure accessibility for all traveling along community roads and pathways, including those with disabilities. Join them on December 4 for a webinar on the topic. Presenters, including Coalition Director Roger Millar, will discuss snow removal needs and effective practices.

Tool: Location Affordability Portal — A new tool from U.S. Housing and Urban Development the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary allows users to estimate housing and transportation costs for neighborhoods across the country. The Location Affordability Portal will help people and communities better understand the combined costs of housing and transportation when considering where to live and work.

Report: Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements — A new resource from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center describes the actual installed costs of 77 pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. Gathered from built projects all over the country, the report includes the low, median, average, and high costs observed for each treatment over multiple years and expressed in constant 2012 dollars.

Reports: Green Infrastructure Strategies — In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides assistance to capital cities interested in innovative green infrastructure strategies. New reports from efforts in Baton Rouge, LA, Des Moines, IA, Frankfort, KY, and Helena, MT may inspire your community to address stormwater and safety for all users in transportation projects.

Report: Measuring the benefits of public transportation — A new report from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project looks into the economic and  quality of life benefits of three public transportation systems in Colorado.

Webinar: Improving transportation equity — On December 2, join the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for a free webinar on how to improve transportation equity and improve access to safe walking and bicycling facilities. The event begins at 2 pm ET. Register online >>

Webinar: Federal programs to support community walkability — Coalition Steering Committee member America Walks brings together three federal agencies on a December 9 webinar to discuss their projects and programs that support safe, walkable communities. Register online >>

Video: The Walking Revolution — Through this streaming 30-minute documentary, the Every Body Walk! Campaign not only encourages people to get out for a walk but to work with their communities to ensure a healthier, walkable future. “The Walking Revolution” details the health benefits of walking, what makes communities walkable, and how walking and walkability supports a healthier environment, strong local economies and a vibrant community life.

Application: Green Lane Project — The Green Lane Project is looking for six new cities for the second phase of its mission to create more protected bike lanes in the U.S. Winning cities will participate in hands-on workshops and study tours; receive technical and strategic assistance; and collect targeted grants over the next two years. Full applications are due January 14, 2014.

Application: Walk-Friendly Communities — The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is now taking applications for the seventh round of the Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) program. The WFC program recognizes communities across the country that have committed to safe walking environments. Applications are due by December 15, and should be submitted online.

Study: Pedestrians and bicycle riders at greater risk from distracted driving — A new peer-reviewed study of crash-related fatalities from 2005–2010 finds that distracted drivers are responsible for a growing share of deaths among pedestrians and bicyclists. While safer vehicle design has reduced fatalities among motorists, the numbers of people walking and bicycling who were killed by distracted drivers have been steadily climbing. To counter this disturbing trend, the authors stress both primary prevention of distracted driving and a safer built environment to better protect those on foot or bicycle.

Conference: New Partners for Smart Growth — Registration is open for the 2014 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Denver. The February 13-15 event includes local tours, pre-conference workshops, a technology fair, and plenty of opportunities to learn from peers and current best practices. Early bird registration is open through November 24.

Conference: Active Living Research — The 11th Annual Active Living Research Conference will take place in San Diego, this March 9 – 12. Its agenda will include both research and practice/policy presentations, great for researchers and non-researchers alike. Register by January 6 to receive the early bird rate.

Conference: International Winter Cycling Congress — The Second International Winter Cycling Congress, an opportunity for professionals around the world to share expertise in providing for and promoting all-year bicycling, will be held February 12 & 13, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Early-bird Registration is open through December 1.


“Complete Streets doesn’t only help quality of life of residents, it has a huge impact on tourism.”

Kristy Kennedy, Director, Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau

“How many lives are lost before you step in and do something? We know it costs money but it shouldn’t be about money when it comes to lives.”

Beverly Walton, resident, Las Vegas, Nevada

“There’s a whole host of reasons why making any place more pedestrian and bike friendly makes sense. Health is one. Safety is another. Economic development is right up there.”

Honorable Jerry Fried, former Mayor of Montclair, New Jersey

“It’s hard to overstate how fundamental a change the [Complete Streets] movement has wrought in the way we think about such an important part of our communities.”

Kaid Benfield, Special counsel for urban solutions, NRDC

Thank you to our Partners:
Complete Streets Local Leaders Council