Complete Streets News — October 2015

House’s draft transportation bill includes Safe Streets provision — Last week, the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up its version of a multi-year surface transportation bill. The original version of the bill included important language to encourage states and metropolitan planning organizations to plan and design for the safety needs of all users in federally-funded projects—a fantastic first step in helping communities across the United States use a Complete Streets approach. During markup, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Dina Titus (D-NV) offered an amendment which makes the new draft even stronger. The new provision would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide regular updates on states’ progress and best practices on pedestrian safety improvements. Thank you to Representatives Curbelo and Titus for their leadership. The bill will next go to the House floor for a full vote. View Transportation for America’s amendment tracker >>

NJ Complete Streets Summit advances safe streets strategies — On October 26, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center hosted the 2015 New Jersey Complete Streets Summit. The Summit brought together planners, engineers, and policy-makers from throughout New Jersey to advance strategies for providing safe, multi-modal transportation systems that are accessible to all users. The event featured keynote speeches from Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken and the National Complete Streets Coalition’s own Director, Emiko Atherton. Jack Nata, Manager of the Division of Traffic and Signals for Newark, and Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli of Fair Haven were awarded 2015 Complete Streets “Champion Awards” and the Cities of Camden, Hoboken, New Brunswick, Ocean City as well as the Borough of Highland Park and Passaic County were awarded the 2015 New Jersey Complete Streets Excellence Awards. The Summit also recognized 51 municipalities and two counties for their policy adoption. Congratulations to all of the awardees for your great work on behalf of Complete Streets! We hope to see similar gatherings in other states. View event photos >>

New Federal Highway Administration ruling aids safer street design — The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took a decisive step this month to make it dramatically easier for cities and communities of all sizes to design and build safer streets by easing federally-mandated design standards on many roads. In this new proposed rule, FHWA would eliminate 11 of the 13 current design criteria for certain roads because they have “minimal influence on the safety or operation on our urban streets.”

Surgeon General issues Call to Action to encourage walkable living — In September, the U.S. Surgeon General kicked off a new nationwide Call to Action, aiming to help Americans lead healthier lives by making walking and physical activity built-in features of more neighborhoods. Over the past decade, scores of research has shown the correlation between physical inactivity and sprawl development. Today, 10 percent of the preventable deaths in America are related to physical inactivity and its related diseases—and communities without safe places to walk are part of the problem.

Complete Streets case studies series — Over the last several weeks, we’ve published a series of case studies looking at Complete Streets projects across the country, from public engagement in Washington, DC to a road diet in Chicago and many more in between. View the full series on our blog.

Best wishes to Stefanie Seskin, Boston’s first Active Transportation Director — We also want to wish best of luck to Stefanie Seskin, the former Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, as she begins her work as the first-ever Active Transportation Director for the City of Boston, MA. Stefanie worked with the Coalition for many years and is part of why the national Complete Streets movement is so successful. Thank you for everything, Stefanie, and we look forward to seeing Boston lead the way in years to come!


This week: Join us at National Walking Summit — This year’s National Walking Summit will be held October 28-30 in Washington DC, and the Coalition will be there to share best practices, increase the visibility of these issues, build support among federal agencies, and create momentum for the work ahead. Join us there or follow the conversation on Twitter at the hashtag #WalkingSummit.

Moving Together Conference in Boston — In the Boston area? Join the 2015 Moving Together Conference on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 to learn about current pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation topics including Vision Zero, Transportation and Economic Development, Hackathon Data Results.

Intersection design — or how the turning radius is shaping your life — The Minneapolis Post looks at design standards for turning radii and how they impact vehicle speeds, pedestrian safety and how trucks navigate our cities.

Roads are getting a redesign — “The Complete Streets movement is reshaping urban boulevards, small-town main streets and even rural highways. But there are still plenty of bumps in the road.” Governing takes a detailed look at Complete Streets movements in North Carolina, California, and Wisconsin.

In a “sweeping policy shift,” Los Angelesnew transportation plan will rework some of the city’s mightiest boulevards, adding more lanes for buses and bikes and, in some places, leaving fewer for cars. The goal is to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians while also luring more people out of their cars.

VisionZero moves forward in San Francisco, where the City has begun baring private vehicles from turning onto Market between Third and Eighth streets — an effort to reduce the number of collisions injuring pedestrians and bicyclists.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced that “Complete Streets” would be the new standard for city planning in Boston at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast last month. He emphasized his desire to see Boston “thinking bigger ideas and making bolder plans,” and hinted that he plans to sign an executive order making Bike-Inclusive Complete Streets—an approach stressing the peaceful coexistence between cars, public transit, pedestrians, and cyclists on city streets—the new default design process for Boston.

The Marlborough, Massachusetts City Council approved its first Complete streets Policy, which is aimed at making Marlborough’s roads more accessible to pedestrians, runners and walkers. Under the new four-page policy, city departments and developers are directed to consistently plan, design, construct and maintain streets to accommodate all anticipated users. The plan also instructs the city’s Public Works Department and other boards to review projects for complete street elements.

In the first public hearing since Albany, New York Common Council passed its Complete Streets Ordinance two years ago, people had the chance to say what their vision of the ordinance entails. M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, which was selected by the city to implement Complete Streets, held the meeting to find out what residents wanted before they drafted up a design manual. Their team has already surveyed the city in cars and by foot to see what’s working and what needs work.

Over the last four years, Chicago has been working faster than any other municipality to connect individual game changing projects like Douglas Park into a seamless network of low-stress bike routes, as envisioned in the Chicago Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the city installed or re-striped more than 50 miles of bike routes in 2014, more than in any previous year. Chicago is already on track to meet Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of building 100 miles of new bike lanes in four short years. Noteworthy, about 25 miles of new projects have been publicly announced for this year, some of which are already in the ground.

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