Complete Streets News, September 2012

This monthly newsletter from the National Complete Streets Coalition provides a roundup of news related to Complete Streets policies from around the country. Subscribe to the newsletter, or learn more about the Coalition.

Policy Adoption

Highlands Park, Illinois has become the latest community in the Chicago area to adopt a Complete Streets policy. With a unanimous vote on August 27, the City Council pass both a Complete Streets policy and the broader Bike-Walk 2030 plan (PDF). Both will be incorporated into the city’s Master Plan this fall.

The Borough of Glen Ridge, New Jersey committed to a Complete Streets policy on September 10, directing all newly constructed and reconstructed roadways to be designed for safe travel by all.

Policy Action

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is launching a new workshop series. Following the adoption of its Complete Streets policy in 2009 and its Complete Streets Planning and Design Guidelines this year, the North Carolina DOT is taking the next step in implementation: training and education for its staff, its local partners, and elected leaders. To date, four workshops have been scheduled across the state, beginning on September 27 in Boone.

Birmingham, Alabama is looking at a new multi-modal transportation plan as the next step in its Complete Streets policy implementation.

New Haven, Connecticut‘s Complete Streets policy is the subject of an article in the New Haven Register. Though progress feels slow to many residents, more than 30 roads have been improved for all users since 2008.

Des Plaines, Illinois has taken advantage of a Cook County resurfacing project to add new bike lanes along Mt. Prospect Road, thanks to Complete Streets policies in place at the county and local level. Without the policies in place, residents and visitors would have waited at least five years for another opportunity to ride in bike lanes along this stretch.

The New York City Department of Transportation has released its latest Sustainable Streets Index, a measure of how well the agency is meeting the sustainability, mobility, infrastructure, and quality of life goals set forth in the city’s PlaNYC 2030. Implementing Complete Streets means measuring your work in relation to your goals, and the Index does just that, including the latest data in traffic, parking, and safety, as well as indicators from a number of high-profile projects meant to improve the safety and access of people driving cars, riding bicycles, taking public transportation, and walking.

Spartanburg, South Carolina will soon see new bike lanes, improved sidewalks, and more street trees on West Main Street as the city applies its Complete Streets policy.

Missoula, Montana‘s Van Buren Street is getting curbs, sidewalks, and a new drainage system. The new features are planned and designed in line with the city’s Complete Streets policy.

South Burlington, Vermont decided to reconfigure Williston Road, and after a trial period of two months community member have decided to make the changes permanent. The improvements have slowed cars from highway-like speeds to speeds more befitting the residential neighborhood, and are providing safe space for people to travel by foot or bicycle. The Vermont Agency of Transportation undertook the trial period as part of its routine paving program, an example of smart, low-cost implementation of the recent state Complete Streets law.

Edmonds, Washington is putting its 2011 Complete Streets policy into action on a stretch of Main Street. The project includes wider sidewalks, midblock pedestrian crossings, a raised median, refreshed crosswalks, and improved stormwater management.

La Crosse County, Wisconsin is seeing the results of its efforts to make streets safer and easier for travel by bicycle or foot. Thanks in part to the town’s Complete Streets policy, the number of people riding bicycles has doubled since 2010. Annual counts such as this are important tools in implementing Complete Streets.

Coalition News

Complete Streets Leaders Recognized
Coalition Deputy Director Stefanie Seskin was honored by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) last Wednesday, September 12. For her contributions to Complete Streets movement, APBP named Seskin a Young Professional of the Year. Kristin Bennett, AICP, one of the Coalition’s workshop Instructors, was also honored. As Professional of the Year – Public Sector, APBP recognized Bennett’s work in bringing more opportunities for bicycling to her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Read more about their awards, and the others honored this year, via APBP.

Coalition Thanks Renewing Partners
The Coalition thanks Parsons Corporation, a Gold Partner, and American Public Works Association, a Bronze Partner, for renewing their partnerships! Interested in supporting the Coalition’s work? Read about the benefits of becoming a Partner and join today!

Complete Streets News

Complete Streets for Prosperity
Investing in the public realm can have big dividends, as proven in Lancaster, California. A $10 million revitalization of the community’s main street, now branded “The Blvd”, has resulted in over $100 million in private investments. Designed to keep cars moving at a slower pace and to encourage more people walk, bicycle, or simply hang out, the redesign has been a resounding success. A blog post from Safe Routes to School California describes The Blvd and other city investments in safe and comfortable streets for all users.

Complete Streets Communities Achieve “Walk Friendly” Status
Of the nine new inductees in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center’s Walk Friendly Communities program, four have adopted Complete Streets policies: Washington, D.C.; Fort Collins, Colorado; Northampton, Massachusetts; and Rochester, Minnesota. There are now 33 Walk Friendly Communities across the nation, many of which are implementing Complete Streets policies. Applications for the next round of awardees are due on December 15. Visit to learn more about the program and apply.

Greening America’s Capitals Includes Complete Streets Strategies
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this year’s awardees in its Greening America’s Capitals program. A common theme: improving streets to expand safe and comfortable travel choices for residents and visitors. 

The Alameda County Transportation Commission, in the San Francisco Bay area, is developing a Complete Streets policy requirement for all jurisdictions looking to receive transportation sales tax funding. These requirements will be inclusive of the Complete Streets policy requirement from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which represents the broader reason.

The Complete Streets concept is catching on across south Florida, according to a recent article in the Sun Sentinel that notes recent policy adoption work in many cities and the successful implementation of policies in several more. story

Despite the increased attention given to pedestrian safety in the wake of Atlanta-area resident Raquel Nelson’s vehicular homicide conviction last year, the Atlantic Cities reports that progress has been slow to implement real solutions to the growing number of deaths and injuries suffered by people walking on Georgia roadways.

Complete Streets are catching on in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, where a citizen’s advisory committee is exploring the concept and the county health department has hired an outside consultant to make recommendations.


Technical Assistance: Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities – This Friday, September 21 at 1 pm ET, get an overview of the free, short-term, targeted technical assistance available through the EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. Complete Streets workshops are among the many types of assistance available. The call for letters of interest will be issued tomorrow, Thursday, September 20. Read more >>

Video: Complete Streets Memphis – Mayor A. C. Wharton opens a new video on the importance of Complete Streets in Memphis, Tennessee with this call: “We need to design our streets to better serve all users.” Created by a coalition of local stakeholders, the video also features the city engineer, a local developer, the assistant commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, and the founder of the National Complete Streets Coalition. The messages shared in the video will ring true in communities hundreds of miles from Memphis. Watch the video >>

Guide: Steps to a Walkable Community – National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee member America Walks teamed up with Coalition Silver Partner Sam Schwartz Engineering to produce the most comprehensive guide to creating walkable communities yet. Going beyond just engineering guidance, the guide features innovative tactics from multiple disciplines — advocacy, land use, policy, design and engineering, encouragement, and enforcement – that have been proven to work in communities across the country. The Guide will be further supported by series of webinars, phone discussion groups, trainings, walking campaign “walkshops”, and a new website (launching next month). Download a free PDF from

Design Guide: Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Second Edition – The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released the second edition of its groundbreaking design manual this month. The comprehensive update includes a brand new chapter on low-stress, low-speed streets called “neighborhood greenways” or “bicycle boulevards” as well as best practices for green colored pavement. The guide can be viewed for free online or purchased as hard copy.

Report: Complete Streets Policy in Louisiana – A new resource from AARP Louisiana, the University of New Orleans, and the Center for Planning Excellence offers an introduction to Complete Streets policy development, adoption, and implementation in Louisiana. An extensive case study of the adoption of a comprehensive ordinance in New Orleans is also included. Read more >>

Toolkit: Complete Streets in Box – To help advance the Complete Streets movement in Connecticut municipalities, this toolkit contains a presentation, policy guidance, existing plans and policies, and links to additional information. It was developed by the Southern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Read more >>

Website: AARP Public Policy Institute’s Livable Communities – The AARP Public Policy Institute launched a redesigned Livable Communities website this month, with resources for policymakers, researchers, and the public about housing, transportation, and land use policy and planning on older adults. Read more >>

Report: Bicycling Means Business – A newly updated report highlights the cost-effectiveness of investing in bicycling, the benefits of bicycle facilities in downtowns and neighborhoods, and how bicycle industry and tourism can positively affect state and local economies. Available as a free download.

Guide: How+To: The H+T Toolkit – The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has developed a new resource to help communities become more affordable for residents by using CNT’s Housing + Transportation (H+T) Affordability Index, a way to gauge and balance how much each household spends on housing and transportation costs. The guide helps communities understand the H+T measure, set and measure goals, and create new policies and plans to ensure affordability. Read more >>

Report: Policies to Improve Health – Forty-three strategies were identified by researchers with the American Heart Association as proven, must-implement approaches to improving American’s health. Among those listed are three related to Complete Streets: improved sidewalk and street design to increase active commuting; improved traffic safety; and improved walkability. Read more >>


“If you don’t give them good public transit, if you don’t give them sidewalks, bike lanes to make the choice, then you’ve already made the choice for them. ‘You’re going to have to get in an automobile. You’re going to have to drive. You’re not going to be able to get minimal physical exercise because we’ve taken the other choices away from you. Because we’ve chosen to invest your money in only one choice.’ That’s not choice at all.”
— Mayor John Robert Smith, President and CEO, Reconnecting America via YouTube.

“It’s more than just having sidewalks and bike lanes…It’s having that environment with equal access for everyone and accommodating them comfortably.”
— Bret Baronak, pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization via the Sun Sentinel.

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Complete Streets