Senate transportation bill includes landmark provision for safer streets

Senators Schatz, Heller, Franken, and Udall champion provision to address national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities

The Senate voted on its final six-year transportation reauthorization bill today, and included in the bill was a landmark provision to make streets across the country safer for everyone who uses them. The Safe Streets amendment would require states and metropolitan planning organizations to plan and design for the safety needs of all users—regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation—in all federally-funded projects.

“America is facing an epidemic of pedestrian deaths,” said Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “This bill will make a Complete Streets approach routine in federal projects. That means streets will be safer for Americans of all ages and abilities, no matter how they travel.”

“The increase in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in Nevada and across the nation is concerning, which is why I teamed with Senator Schatz on this important provision,” said Senator Dean Heller. “Passage of the Highway bill, and subsequently the Safer Streets Amendment, will spur innovative transportation planning throughout the nation that aims to improve bike and pedestrian safety.”

“By planning and building roads and communities with more sidewalks, bike paths, bus lanes, and public transit stops, we encourage more transportation options and create safer neighborhoods for families,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “This provision asks states and community planners to consider the needs of all users – whether it’s a mother walking with her child in a stroller, a student biking to school, or a senior taking the bus to get to the store.”

“Eleven years ago, a diverse group of organizations formed the National Complete Streets Coalition to make streets safer for everyone who uses them,” said Roger Millar, Coalition Director. “Seeing our approach included in national legislation is a milestone for the movement.”

In April, Representatives Matsui and Joyce introduced the Safe Streets Act in the House of Representatives, which we hope will be included in the House’s version of a long-term transportation bill.

“Everyone in Washington agrees that we need to make a long-term investment in infrastructure,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “The Senate has done a commendable job making safer streets a priority in their version of the bill—now it’s up to the House to reach a similar outcome. America’s communities and economy are depending on them.”

Complete Streets