On February 15, 2012, 40 community stakeholders from Deerfield Beach, Florida met with representatives from the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America as part of a free program helping their city develop “complete streets” policies. In this interactive, day-long workshop, city staff and residents learned how everyday transportation decisions can promote streets that are designed to allow safe access for all users. Complete Streets workshops aim to draw on the experience of community stakeholders and offer new opportunities for them to work together.
The City of Deerfield Beach learned of the economic and fiscal benefits of smart growth in June of 2011 through a workshop with the Environmental Protection Agency. A product of that workshop was a commitment to support a thriving local economy by creating a more walkable community following the guidelines of Complete Streets. The City was able to pursue this goal after being granted a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America. Having established a foundation of smart growth basics, the city was equipped for a policy development workshop, where attendees learned the Complete Streets concept and began developing a customized draft policy.
Deerfield Beach’s workshop included small group discussions interspersed with presentations from two instructors who had expertise in transportation engineering, policy and planning. These sessions gave participants the opportunity to closely examine how they would implement Complete Streets in their community.
Deerfield Beach is relatively compact, with destinations and housing close together, so one of the workshop’s resulting policy goals was to make the city safer and more comfortable for people on foot. In particular, participants wanted to establish more crosswalks in targeted locations. Participants also emphasized the need for taking a consistent approach, given the various state, county, and city roads in the city. Jeff Riegner, a facilitator of the workshop, noticed the collaborative nature of the group. City staff from various departments participated, including the mayor and several city commissioners, along with substantial involvement from the community. Participants emphasized the importance of public input and wanted Complete Streets implementation to be a public process.
As a result of the workshop, city staff is charged with moving forward, gathering public input, determining issues and getting approval from elected officials. While Complete Streets can be a challenging process, Riegner reports that city staff has taken a strong lead. “This is the second grant they have gotten for this visionary transportation process. They are moving forward and with support of their elected officials and I am confident they will be successful.”
The technical assistance workshop program is made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, which seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Three other nonprofit organizations – Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces – also received competitively awarded grants this year to help communities get the kinds of development they want.
- Blog Post: Deerfield Beach aims to implement ‘Complete Streets’ with help from Smart Growth America
- Complete Streets Tool Description (PDF)
- Complete Streets Overview (PDF)
- Deerfield Beach: Next Steps Memo (PDF)
- Deerfield Beach: Progress Report – 1 month (PDF)
- Deerfield Beach: Progress Report – 6 months (PDF)
- Deerfield Beach: Progress Report – 12 months (PDF)