Indianapolis works to implement its strong Complete Streets policy with Smart Growth America workshop

Challenges and opportunities on the whiteboard at a Complete Streets workshop in Indianapolis last week.

In 2012 the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council unanimously passed the Indianapolis Complete Streets ordinance, a policy intended to ensure that streets are designed, built, operated, and maintained to be safe and accessible for everyone, regardless of whether they travel by bus, bike, foot or personal vehicle. Indianapolis’ Complete Streets policy was the best in the nation that year, and remains one of the strongest city ordinances adopted to date.

Since the policy’s passage, Indianapolis staff and Health by Design partners have been working to ensure successful implementation of the policy and to monitor and track related performance measures. To help accelerate the move from policy to implementation, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition held a Complete Streets implementation workshop on June 10 and 11, 2015, as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop provided additional tools, resources and guidance for policy implementation. It also offered an opportunity to communicate the benefits of Complete Streets and local project examples to the public.

“Indy’s Complete Streets ordinance plays a vital role in ensuring our projects consider all users and modes of transportation,” said Andy Lutz, Director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works. “Collaborating with other cities on best practices helps all of us to share success stories and enhance our efforts.”

Indianapolis-area residents joined the workshop’s first day for an introductory presentation that provided a broad overview of using a Complete Streets approach. The second day of the workshop brought together an invited group of representatives from Indianapolis’ Department of Public Works, Department of Metropolitan Development, Department of Code Enforcement, IndyGo, INDOT, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Health by Design partners. Together they discussed the next steps for an effective Complete Streets approach and identified multimodal performance measures that can help Indianapolis achieve its Complete Streets goals.

Indianapolis was one of 14 communities nationwide selected to receive one of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops. Stretching from Florida to Washington State, these 14 communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike. The program, made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Sustainable Communities, 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. Two other nonprofit organizations—Project for Public Spaces and Global Green—currently have active grants to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

Workshop Materials:

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Complete Streets Technical assistance