Complete Streets News — October 2016



Last chance to register for Street Lights conference — The Street Lights: Illuminating Implementation and Equity in Complete Streets conference is just around the corner. As we deep dive into all aspects of Complete Streets, will you be a part of the conversation? Register today. Taking place on November 15, 2016 in Sacramento, CA, Street Lights 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.

From policy to practice, our new Strategic Plan — Since 2004, the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) has helped to guide nearly 1000 Complete Streets policies into place in cities and states across the country. The Coalition and our thousands of supporters have done a great job advancing these policies across the country—but how can we ensure that those policies are put into practice and advance health and social equity for people along the way? As part of our new strategic plan for the next four years, NCSC will champion the implementation of Complete Streets policies already on the books, helping agencies put their ideas to work making the nation’s streets safe and accessible for all users of all abilities.

Does this dangerous street look familiar? — This fall, the National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2016, a report that will again rank the nation’s most dangerous places to walk using the Pedestrian Danger Index. This year’s report will dive deep into how income, race, and place play an outsized role in how likely people are to be killed while walking. Help us illustrate the hazards you face everyday by submitting photos of streets in your neighborhood that are “dangerous by design.” We want to see the missing crosswalks, missing curb ramps, and the long and dangerous treks along busy highways. We want to see every way that our current road designs have failed to provide for the safety and convenience of everyone that needs to use them. Please send your photos to [email protected].

Now Hiring: Complete Streets Intern — The National Complete Streets Coalition is now hiring a Complete Streets Equity, Research, and Communications Intern. The intern will help advance the work of the Coalition’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, which focuses on equity and implementation of Complete Streets. The intern will be an integral part of the Coalition’s work by doing research and drafting new resources, assisting in projects to assess policy implementation efforts, working with the Coalition’s Steering Committee and Partners, providing administrative support for events and workshops, and writing articles for our newsletter, blog, and social media. Learn about more open jobs.

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 and Inventory and our Best Complete Streets Policies reports. For inclusion in these resources, please send a PDF copy of your policy to Mary Eveleigh.


Where is walkable development headed in DC? — “The future growth of walkable urban places could provide the same economic base in the 21st century that drivable sub-urbanism did in the mid-to-late 20th century.” That was the eye-catching assertion made by Christopher Leinberger during an event last month focused on meeting the booming demand for walkable urban development. The event, co-sponsored by Smart Growth America, kicked off with Leinberger presenting findings from the Foot Traffic Ahead: 2016 report, released in June. That report analyzed national metro areas based on the number of walkable urban places in each, looking at the number of distinct walkable, urban places to measure both the revitalization of the central city and the urbanization of the suburbs.

Putting smart growth to work on Main Street — While we tend to think of sprawl, decay, and decline as primarily urban challenges, rural communities across the country are tackling some of the same basic problems, if at a different scale and in more serene settings. Partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program, Smart Growth America (SGA) has developed strategies and programs designed to assist these communities with smart growth approaches tailored for their context. Recently, SGA traveled to Alton, MO, Brookings, SD, and Rifle, CO to help facilitate ongoing conversations about how they can take advantage of changes in the American economic and cultural landscape.

An in-depth look at Safe Routes to School — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new Health Impact in Five Years, or HI-5, initiative highlights a list of non-clinical, community-wide approaches with a proven track record. Each intervention listed is associated with improved health within five years and is reported to be cost-effective or cost-saving over the lifetime of the population or even earlier. Listen in to an upcoming Web Forum highlighting specific interventions identified in the HI-5 initiative and learn real-world examples of how local and state-level organizations have implemented Safe Routes to School to meet needs of their communities.

Complete Streets can improve health and business in Southwest Louisiana — When people have safe, accessible transportation options, they move around more, as well as more frequently. And evidence shows that is good for both health and business. That’s why communities around the nation are adopting Complete Streets policies, which ensure when infrastructure decisions are made and structures built, that they promote safe, accessible movement. Lake Charles, Louisiana with its low walkability score of 37, as well as its surrounding areas’ health problems, makes Southwest Louisiana an ideal place to enact these policies.

The cost-effectiveness of bike lanes in New York City — A recent Columbia University study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of investments in bike lanes using New York City’s (NYC) fiscal year 2015 investment as a case study. Results indicate that over the lifetime of all people in NYC, bike lane construction produces additional costs of $2.79 and gain of 0.0022 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) per person. This results in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1297/QALY gained. The study concludes that investments in bicycle lanes come with an exceptionally good value because they simultaneously address multiple public health problems. Investments in bike lanes are more cost-effective than the majority of preventive approaches used today.

Environmental justice and pedestrianism — Extensive studies have documented the unequal distribution of benefits and harms from automobiles and transit, but research considering access to and quality of pedestrian infrastructure by race and income is limited. A recent study uses an audit of sidewalk continuity adjacent to bus stops in New Orleans, Louisiana, to determine whether sidewalk continuity had a relationship to census tract-level poverty and racial composition. The analysis shows that minority populations and, to some extent, populations living in poverty are significantly associated with worse sidewalk connectivity.

Exploring the gender gap in bicycling in Oregon — In Oregon, as in other areas of the United States, a greater percentage of men than women bicycle. A recent study illuminates the gender gap in bicycling by exploring differences in bicycling between women and men in Oregon. Findings suggest that women who lived alone, were not working, had no high school degree or driver’s license, and lived in low-income households or zero-vehicle households were less likely to bicycle than other women. These findings are consistent with a perspective that women who bicycle are more likely to bicycle by choice, whereas women of fewer means are less likely to turn to bicycling than are their male counterparts.


The Yonkers, NY Living Your Fullest Everyday (LYFE) Coalition, buoyed by New York State’s commitment to Complete Streets, passed a Complete Streets policy last month. The LYFE Coalition hosted community listening sessions, where Tri-State Transportation laid out actionable next steps for passing a policy. Just a few months after their initial community listening session, the LYFE Coalition and City Council were able to produce draft Complete Streets policy language; an ordinance to require new projects to adhere to Complete Streets principles.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)’s Complete Streets Funding Program has announced grant funding to 11 participating municipalities who will be adopting polices and practices aimed at providing safe and accessible options for all travel modes. So far this year, 91 municipalities have approved policies and 27 have approved prioritization plans. A total of $12.5 million is available through fiscal years 2016 and 2017. “MassDOT is pleased to partner with municipalities across the Commonwealth to offer the Complete Streets Program to help communities make much needed transportation improvements,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

Protected bike lanes. A less deadly Roosevelt Boulevard. Sidewalks that won’t be devoured by construction sites. The wish list for those seeking to make Philadelphia, PA’s streets safer is long, and making improvements requires coordination between city departments, neighborhoods, and elected officials. That need is why Philadelphia hired Kelley Yemen, who will start November 7 as the city’s first Complete Streets Director. Yemen’s job will be to act as traffic director for the city streets and water departments, planning commission, and licensing and inspection to coordinate plans to improve roadways for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Frankenmuth, MI is taking a serious look at Complete Streets. Using $40,000 in grant dollars the city is working with a firm called Greenway Collaborative on a plan to improve streets all across town; turning them into Complete Streets. “What we want to do is make sure we are able to maintain all users of our transportation,” said Sheila Stamiris, Director of the Downtown Development Authority. Stamiris and dozens more came out to give their input at a kickoff meeting this month. There will be another community input session in November, with Stamiris hoping to have a plan to present to City Council in January.

A resolution to adopt a Complete Streets policy was considered by the Dutchess County, NY Legislature’s Public Works & Capital Projects Committee at their meeting on Thursday, October 6th. The Complete Streets policy calls on the county to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain its streets, bridges, bus systems, parks, trails and buildings to promote safe and comfortable travel for people of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets policies have been adopted by nine other counties across New York State thus far, including Ulster and Westchester Counties in the Hudson Valley.

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