New Complete Streets Policies in Two States

A crossing island in Ypsilanti, MI. Photo: Dan Burden,
A crossing island in Ypsilanti, MI. Photo: Dan Burden,

In the last month, the National Complete Streets Coalition celebrated policy success in Michigan and Louisiana.

On July 28, the Michigan Senate unanimously approved Complete Streets legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Jennifer Granholm four days later. Under this new law, Public Act 135, the Michigan Department of Transportation is required to develop and adopt a Complete Streets policy as defined by the law within two years. Development of policies for use by municipalities and counties is also required. Importantly, the law establishes a Complete Streets Advisory Council, with representatives from many stakeholder groups, to educate, oversee, and report on implementation of policies in the DOT and across the state.

“Transportation planning is crucial to revitalizing our downtowns and creating the atmosphere to attract businesses, create jobs and keep our young people here in Michigan,” said Representative Jon Switalski, the bill’s sponsor. “This ‘Complete Streets’ legislation reflects the bipartisan effort it takes to build a brighter future for Michigan.”

A companion bill was also signed into law, which will encourage a multi-modal focus in local master plans. The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition worked overtime in the last few months to educate legislators and stakeholders across the state about the bills.

And, in mid-July, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development adopted a Complete Streets policy (.pdf). The new policy aims to “create a comprehensive, integrated, connected transportation network for Louisiana that balances access, mobility, health and safety needs of motorists, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, which includes users of wheelchairs and mobility aides.” All projects using state or federal funding will be subject to the policy, with five defined exceptions.

Last year, a legislation-created Complete Streets Work Group, with members from Louisiana AARP, the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and others, crafted this policy for the DOTD’s consideration. Its adoption is yet another great success for advocates, who also successfully lobbied amendments to state statutes to make streets safer for bicyclists in the last month.

To date, 14 states have passed Complete Streets legislation and a total of 23 have some form of policy, be it departmental policies, resolutions, design guidance, or legislation. Check out all the state policies on our handy chart (.pdf) and the 150+ policies adopted in communities across the country on our interactive atlas.

Complete Streets