Complete Streets News, October 2012

New policies are adopted in Georgia, Michican, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Policy action in DC, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington. Applications now being accepted for free Complete Streets workshops and more in this month’s news from the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Want to get this newsletter delivered straight to your inbox? Join the National Complete Streets Coalition mailing list.

Policy Adoption

Georgia DOT Adopts Policy – On September 20, the Georgia Department of Transportation adopted a Complete Streets policy, the product of years of work done by the state’s Complete Streets supporters, including Georgia Bikes; the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition; the Atlanta Regional Commission; the cities of Atlanta, Decatur, and Roswell; several transit agencies; and leaders within GDOT. The new policy calls for the Department to “routinely incorporate bicycle, pedestrian, and transit (user and transit vehicle) accommodations into transportation infrastructure projects as a means for improving mobility, access, and safety for the traveling public.”

The Road Commission for Oakland County, Michigan adopted Complete Streets guidelines (PDF) last month to help the County apply the approach to its transportation projects.

On September 25, Newark, New Jersey announced that it had adopted a formal Complete Streets policy. Mayor Cory Booker strongly supported the policy, stating that Newark’s streets would be “the safest and most welcoming in the entire nation.” Booker participated in an AARP-led webcast discussion about Complete Streets a few days later.

In early October, the city of Onalaska, Wisconsin adopted a Complete Streets policy and a recommended project checklist. The checklist asks project managers about accommodations for people walking and bicycling and encourages them to check existing plans and nearby destinations when making decisions.

Policy Action

A section of Washington, D.C.‘s Florida Avenue NW — a wide, auto-oriented street — will get a long overdue makeover to make it friendlier for people walking and bicycling, in line with the city’s Complete Streets policy. (Greater Greater Washington)

Fort Myers, Florida is taking the next step in implementing its year-old Complete Streets resolution: developing design guidelines based on the Model Street Design Manual for Living Streets. An ad hoc, inter-agency committee will develop recommendations by this December. (BikeWalkLee)

Lee County, Florida staff revised their transportation planning and budgeting process following adoption of a policy in 2009. This year’s transportation Capital Improvement Plan is the first to reflect that new approach, and many of the proposed road projects now improve conditions for multiple modes. (BikeWalkLee)

The Complete Streets implementation in Dubuque, Iowa‘s Historic Millwork District is receiving accolades left and right: “Project of the Year in Transportation” from the Iowa Chapter of the American Public Works Association; one of the “Top 10 Roads” of 2012 from Roads & Bridges magazine; and the “Sustainability in Preservation award” from Preservation Iowa. (City of Dubuque)

Richard Davey, the Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, announced a bold vision for the state: tripling the share of non-car travel by 2030. Full implementation of the state’s Complete Streets law and supportive design manual will aid in that goal’s achievement. (Boston Globe)

During a resurfacing project on Northwestern Highway, the Michigan Department of Transportation adeptly applied its Complete Streets policy to convert wide paved shoulders into buffered bike lanes, making the high-speed street more comfortable for many bicyclists. But in Lansing, residents are disappointed with the Department’s plans for an area corridor because they do not adequately address the needs of all users (, Lansing State Journal)

AARP Bulletin Today reports on Complete Streets implementation in two South Carolina cities, Greenville and Camden, and how the resulting changes to roadways are making it safer for older adults to walk and ride bicycles for transportation and exercise. (AARP Bulletin Today)

Nashville, Tennessee Mayor Karl Dean celebrated the opening of the 28th/31st Avenue Connector at a ribbon cutting on October 2, 2012. The new roadway, planned and designed under the city’s Complete Streets policy, connects two communities previously separated by an interstate. Coalition Silver Partner firm Gresham, Smith and Partners provided design expertise on the project.

Seattle, Washington‘s new bicycle counting totem on Fremont Bridge will help the city better collect data about its efforts to make streets safer for people riding bikes and share its successes with residents.

Coalition News

Apply Today for a Free Workshop – The National Complete Streets Coalition is pleased to offer its well-regarded Complete Streets Workshops series (PDF) as part of the latest round of free technical assistance provided by Smart Growth America. Interested agencies must submit an application by October 25 at 5:00 pm ET. Eleven other smart growth workshops are also available. Learn more >>

Great Streets Announced – The American Planning Association, a member of the National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee, announced its 2012 list of Great Streets in America. From Kingston, New York to Key West, Florida, the streets honored with the designation are often great examples of streets that are designed for a range of people traveling by different modes. Check out the full list.

Welcome New and Renewing Partners – The Coalition welcomes two new Partners this month: Rummel Klepper & Kahl at the Silver level and Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates at the Bronze level. We also thank Gresham Smith & Partners and Ryan Snyder Associates for their continued support as Partners at the Silver level. Support the Coalition’s work by becoming a Partner today!

Complete Streets News

Complete Streets Benefit Older Americans – Several news outlets, including NPR, have reported on older adults hanging up their car keys recently, but few have discussed the need to provide other options, such as safe sidewalks and reliable public transportation. Lori Cohen, writing for Mobility Lab, discusses how Complete Streets ensure older folks can stay active and independent, even without a car. “Walkability,” she says, “is a vital factor in their ability to stay connected and avoid isolation.” Cohen recommends surveying streets to see how well they meet the needs of older folks out walking and notes the Complete Streets efforts underway in New York City that make it easier and safer to walk for people of all ages.

Lee County, Florida’s nonprofit BikeWalkLee was awarded the Outstanding Public Interest Group of the Year award (PDF) by the American Planning Association Florida Chapter last month in recognition of its work to ensure Complete Streets policies are adopted and implemented in the region.

The Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association honored Coalition supporting partner Active Transportation Alliance of Chicago, Illinois for its new model design manual, Complete Streets, Complete Networks.

In an effort to boost public health and become “Blue Zones” certified, the cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa will apply Complete Streets policies to their new and reconstructed streets.

Concord, New Hampshire resident Robert Baker encourages the TIGER-funded project on Main Street to consider the needs of people traveling by bike so he and his daughter can head downtown safely.

Caldwell, New Jersey‘s city council heard from past Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried about the benefits of a Complete Streets approach. A video of his spoken presentation is available online.

A recent poll in upstate New York found that 22 percent of residents felt unsafe walking on area roads and half felt unsafe while riding bicycles. Cathy Moore of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County spoke with a local news outlet about how Complete Streets can help solve those concerns.

With more facilities for people on bikes, the city of Philadelphia has found that the number of bike crashes and deaths has declined greatly while the number of people riding bicycles has doubled.

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council, which plans and funds transportation projects in the Spokane, Washington region, will use a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a comprehensive Complete Streets policy.

The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Canada released its Pedestrian Death Review, research undertaken as the result of growing pedestrian safety concerns in the province. Among the top recommendations for reducing crashes and injuries among those on foot is the adoption of a Complete Streets approach when building and rebuilding roads.

Businessweek named its list of “America’s Best Cities” last month. Not surprisingly, almost all of the cities on the list have adopted a Complete Streets policy.


Video: Complete Streets North Carolina – The state Department of Transportation developed a new video to introduce residents to the Complete Streets concept; explain what it will look like on the ground; and answer some commonly posed questions.

Report: Public Health and Active Transportation – The American Public Health Association and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership show how public health can be a part of transportation planning and design in a new primer “Promoting Active Transportation: An Opportunity for Health.” (PDF) The document explains the planning process, with specific detail on the new federal transportation bill; provides communications strategies; and includes three case studies.

Report: Are We There Yet? – Reconnecting America released a new report that tracks the work being done in regions across the country to ensure everyone has affordable housing options, transportation choices, access to healthy food, and more. See how your region stacks up and what it can do to be more economically competitive and supportive of residents.

Report: Biking, Walking Boost NYC Economy – A new study from Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit in New York City, investigates the economic outcomes of streets that are designed to promote walking and bicycling. Focusing in the dense East Village neighborhood, researchers found that 95 percent of retail dollars were spent by people who arrived on foot, bicycle, or public transportation.

Article: Toward More Comprehensive Understanding of Traffic Congestion – In a post on Planetizen, Todd Litman summarizes the points made in his recent report “Smart Congestion Relief: Comprehensive Analysis Of Traffic Congestion Costs and Congestion Reduction Benefits.” He explains why conventional tools of measuring congestion are biased and offers ways to correct them so that outcomes of transportation projects better support multimodal outcomes and economically viable communities. Litman provides links to other reports on congestion measurement strategies.

Design Manual: Abu Dhabi – An update to Abu Dhabi’s street design manual, which takes into consideration the need to provide safe travel options, accompanies a new online design tool. The two resources can help Complete Streets supporters across the world create and visualize design concepts.

App: Crowd-Sourced Walkability Audits – Popular website WalkScore updated its smartphone app to allow users to comment on the good and not-so-good of their neighborhood streets, adding a new dimension of information to the website’s well-known walkability scores. When used comprehensively over time, the data from the app will be a powerful tool in advocating for and building Complete Streets.


“The Complete Streets policy will make North Carolina streets safer and more attractive for all road users. It will improve the quality of life and provide economic benefits for all North Carolina residents and visitors. It is imperative that this policy be understood, embraced, and implemented across the Tar Heel state.”
– Secretary Gene Conti, North Carolina Department of Transportation, (YouTube)

“I think people ultimately just want as many options as possible that are safe and healthy — and, hey, maybe even fun — when they’re getting around.”
– Gabe Klein, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation (Toronto Star)

“…[T]o create livable cities, to improve the quality of life, to literally save lives, initiatives like [Complete Streets] are imperative in the State of New Jersey.”
– Mayor Cory Booker, Newark, New Jersey (NJ Today)

“A street is a public space and belongs to all users, so a street needs to accommodate all public users. Really when you think about it, it’s such a basic, common-sense idea.”
– Kamyar Enshayan, former council member, Cedar Falls, Iowa (WFC Courier (IA))

Complete Streets