Streetscape Improvements Help Make Streets Complete!

Grandview Drive in University Place, WA. Photo: Dan Burden
Grandview Drive in University Place, WA. Photo: Dan Burden

Today’s post comes from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently helped craft legislation that designates the fourth week of April “National Streetscaping Week” and encourages designing streetscapes which utilize sustainable design strategies and construction practices to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of neighborhoods and communities. Streetscape improvements are a key component in creating complete streets in communities all across the country.

H.CON.RES.240, the resolution to designate the 4th Week of April as “National Streetscaping Week,” introduced by Congressman Steve Cohen [TN-9] earlier this spring, would promote the development of safe, attractive, and environmentally sustainable communities by urging federal, state, regional, and local policy-makers to fund and support streetscape improvement projects.

By enacting this resolution, Congress would encourage communities across the nation to undertake physical improvement projects that would enhance the area’s economic viability, attractiveness, and environmental health. Such ventures can provide a myriad of tangible benefits to communities:

  • creating local green jobs;
  • reducing energy costs for consumers;
  • increasing the property value of homes and businesses;
  • reducing traffic congestion by providing access to alternative modes of transportation;
  • reducing water treatment costs by facilitating natural storm water filtration;
  • providing recreational spaces that encourage healthier, active lifestyles;
  • reducing air pollution by sequestering harmful carbon emissions.

Landscape architects are on the front lines of implementing Complete Streets projects in localities across the country. ASLA members design and plan urban corridors (check out these before and after drawings!) streetscape improvement projects, transit stations, bicycle and pedestrian trails, public gathering spaces, and parks and recreation space. In addition, streetscape design strategies often focus on increasing tree canopy coverage, improving stormwater management practices through low impact development, and implementing green infrastructure.

ASLA is working closely with Congressman Steve Cohen and other allied organizations including the National Complete Streets Coalition, Transportation for America, Smart Growth America, America Bikes, American Nursery & Landscape Association, American Public Works Association, International Society of Arboriculture, America Walks, Reconnecting America , Alliance for Community Trees, American Rivers, Alliance for Walking and Biking, Irrigation Association, Healthy Lifestyle La Plata, Sustainable San Mateo County, Idaho Falls Community Pathways, WalkBoston, Casey Trees, Feet First, and the National Parks and Recreation Association to pass this important resolution that promotes the development of healthy, livable communities through investment in sustainable streetscapes.

We encourage you to contact elected officials and ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor not only this Resolution but also the Complete Streets Act.

ASLA is a proud member of the National Complete Streets Coalition and serves on the national steering committee. In fact Richard Murphy, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the ASLA, joined the National Complete Streets Coalition’s Barbara McCann at a recent DOT listening tour in Minneapolis and touted the benefits of complete streets to Secretary LaHood, Rep. Oberstar, and others!

ASLA and our 16,000+ members look forward to continuing to work in concert with the National Complete Streets Coalition and helping design the next generation of safe, attractive, and economically vibrant streets in your neighborhood!

Complete Streets