New report on pedestrian deaths underscores need for strong performance measures — Complete Streets News — May 2014

Complete Streets News

“The only acceptable number of pedestrian fatalities is zero”

On May 20, we released the latest edition of Dangerous by Design, a national report on the epidemic of pedestrian fatalities and what we can do to prevent these deaths. Dangerous by Design 2014 crunches the numbers on ten years of pedestrian fatality data, looking at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, and makes specific recommendations at the national and state levels.

In the decade 2003–2012, more than 47,000 people died while walking on our streets — sixteen times the number of Americans who died in natural disasters over the same decade. Another 676,000 people were injured. Moreover, some of the most vulnerable populations — children, older Americans, and people of color — suffer disproportionately. The projected growth of older and minority populations in coming decades adds a dimension of demographic urgency to the report’s findings. The majority of pedestrian deaths happen on arterial roads — and two-thirds on roads designed to federal specifications and supported by federal money. Too many of these roads are built with only one objective in mind: moving cars as quickly as possible, regardless of being interstates or main streets.

Street design is the most important factor in preventing these tragedies — and we know how to plan, design and operate our streets to be safer. The report describes specific design interventions as well as making policy and procedural recommendations to ensure that people walking are treated with the same care as people driving.

To get serious about safety, the first action is asking the US Department of Transportation to hold states accountable for making real progress in significantly reducing the number and severity of traffic injuries, per federal transportation law, for both motorized and non-motorized modes of travel. USDOT is accepting comments on their proposed implementation of that law until June 9th. Join us in telling Secretary Foxx and USDOT that we need stronger rules now.

You also can ask your Senators and Representative to support pedestrian safety and Complete Streets by signing on to the Safe Streets Act (S. 2004/H.R. 2468) — or thank them for doing so. This bipartisan bill is a proactive policy shift to make sure pedestrian safety is part of the transportation bill currently making its way through Congress.

The Dangerous by Design website includes a searchable map of every pedestrian death in the country from 2003 through 2012 and state-specific reports with data for every county and metro area in the country. A resource section includes links to state-of-the-practice design guidance and research. You can also read about the webinar held on May 20.

Policy Adoption

The borough of Caldwell became the latest New Jersey community to adopt a Complete Streets policy, unanimously passing a resolution on April 15. Read more >>

Earlier in the year, Passaic County, NJ made good on its 2012 transportation master plan, with its Freeholder Board adopting a Complete Streets policy in February. Work got underway this month on bike- and walk-friendly improvements in the Passaic County community of Woodland Park. The County is using its pedestrian and bikeway plan to prioritize improvements, tying the work in with scheduled repaving to make the most of opportunities. Read more >>

Policy Action

The Minneapolis suburbs of Bloomington and Richfield, MN are becoming regional leaders in making streets safer and more convenient for everyone by reconfiguring street designs. Bloomington adopted a local Complete Streets policy in 2012. Read more >>

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has revised plans for the reconstruction of Route 35 along the Jersey Shore, which was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Residents asked NJDOT to improve the sidewalks and bike lanes, in line with the vision of its 2009 Complete Streets policy. The department responded with a new design that does a better job of serving everybody. Read more >>

Several streets in Buffalo, NY are being revamped according to the city’s 2008 Complete Streets policy. Pearl and Ellicott streets are being reverted to two-way traffic, new turn lanes and bike lanes are going in on other streets, and new sidewalks, LED lighting, and street trees are being installed alongside repaving projects throughout the city. Read more >>

Federal Policy Update

Congress has begun to address the reauthorization of the federal transportation law. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) released its bill on May 12 and the bill was passed to the full Senate with few amendments. The proposed bill, though without Complete Streets language, makes some steps forward for the safety of all users. Read more >>

The Safe Streets Act got several new cosponsors in the last month, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) signing onto S. 2004. Please join us in thanking the Senators and Representatives who are working for safer streets for everyone — or ask your Members of Congress to join them — with our online action.

In a commentary in Roll Call, Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) discussed the dangers increasingly faced by people who travel outside of cars. The Congresswoman identified the demographic pressures making it all the more vital for a national Complete Streets policy. Read more >>

And, in testimony to the Senate’s Commerce Committee, Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach noted how a Complete Streets approach was helping his city improve connectivity and provide a greater variety of transportation options. Read more >>

Coalition News

The jarring findings in Dangerous by Design 2014 were noted by many regional and national outlets, including the Washington Post, USA Today, Al Jazeera America, Fast Company, TIME, and City Lab.

The League of American Bicyclists released its latest Bicycle Friendly State rankings. Washington continued its long-time domination of the list, but Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Delaware all made strong showings, moving up from last year’s rankings into the next three places, respectively. Complete Streets policies with actionable next steps are among the crieria for the rankings.

In early May, our Complete Streets workshop instructors facilitated a public presentation and workshop in Kenosha, WI, one of 18 communities across the nation to receive free technical assistance from Smart Growth America thanks to a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities. Learn more about our workshop program >>

Thank you, Partners! The Coalition thanks its renewing Gold Partner Vanasse, Hangen, and Brustlin, Inc. and Bronze Partner Linscott, Law & Greenspan Engineers for being an official part of the Complete Streets movement!

Support the Coalition’s work by becoming a Partner today! Upgrade or join today and receive a signed copy of Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks by Barbara McCann.

Complete Streets News

Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change on May 13th, recognized for his “exemplary leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities.” Burden is widely credited as the originator of “walking audits,” which help decision makers, practitioners, and community members critically consider the pedestrian environment and re-imagine streets that are healthy and safe for everyone. Dan has been an ardent supporter of Complete Streets sing long before the term was coined. Read more >>

Atlanta and Decatur, GA are co-submitting an application for TIGER grant funds to improve pedestrian and bicycle connections to the region’s MARTA transit system. Read more >>

A Kentucky woman faces charges for riding her bike to work, legally, on a busy arterial road with no other viable route options. Cherokee Schill, a single mom of two teenagers, rides some 18 miles each way from her home to a factory job in Lexington. Though she has reaped health benefits from the commute, Schill rides a bicycle to save money. “And as a mom, I thought making sure the kids had food was first priority and other things could wait,” she said. “So it sits there. My car sits there, and I ride my bike.” Read more >>

Austin, TX, is soliciting public input on a draft Complete Streets policy. The resolution could go in front of the City Council by the end of May. The city was hosted a National Complete Streets Coalition Complete Streets workshop last year. Read more >>

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center announced three new walk-friendly communities and one “promotion” within its rankings this month. Boulder and Denver, CO, and Lakeland, FL, were recognized for the first time, and Charlottesville, VA moved up from the Silver to Gold designation. Applications for the next round are being accepted now.


Resource: Benchmarking Walking and Biking — The Alliance for Biking & Walking released its 2014 Benchmarking Report, a massive compendium of data and research on walking and bicycling in all 50 states, 52 of the most populous cities, and 17 midsized cities. Take a peek at the most interesting data points and download the report.

Fact Sheet: Modern Roundabouts — The AARP Livable Communities program published a new fact sheet on modern roundabouts, explaining how roundabouts can make for safer intersections by reducing speeds and conflict points. The fact sheet also addresses a number of concerns about roundabouts.

Survey of Current Practice: Uncontrolled Crossings — A task force formed by America Walks, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, and the Institute of Traffic Engineers has released the findings of a broad survey on current practices relating to uncontrolled street crossings. Examining crosswalks at 105 sites across all regions of the country, the survey finds high-visibility markings, pedestrian refuges, and curb extensions to be the most common treatments.

Report: Active transportation commutes — The Census Bureau released a report on commuting by walking and bicycling this month. Based on the American Community Survey, the report gives an in-depth look at the changes and trends in walking and bicycling to work since 2010.

Resource: Complete Streets encyclopedia entry — The Victoria Transport Policy Institute’s online Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Encyclopedia features a new entry on Complete Streets. The entry situates Complete Streets among other TDM strategies according to the encyclopedia’s uniform ratings of travel impacts, benefits and costs, equity impacts, and applications. It includes a number of case studies and an extensive bibliography.

Conference: Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place — Registration is open for this year’s Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference, to be held in Pittsburgh this September 811. The largest walking, bicycling, and placemaking conference has more than 100 sessions and over 900 attendees.


“More and more communities across the country are adopting ‘complete streets’ policies every year. As members of Congress, it is our responsibility to support and incentivize these forward-thinking policies. They not only contribute to an improved quality of life but also bolster the local economy by creating jobs and moving people and products more efficiently.”

Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) in a Roll Call commentary on our nation’s infrastructure funding crisis

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