A regional planning commission in Wisconsin wanted to develop a regional Complete Streets policy as a tool to encourage its local jurisdictions to do the same. Partnering with Smart Growth America helped bolster their efforts, offering policy development strategies and fostering local discussions around Complete Streets.
Building Blocks: Complete Streets
Local leaders in Lowell, Massachusetts are working hard to make their streets safer and more accessible, passing a Complete Streets policy several years ago and advancing or completing a number of recent projects that prioritize the need to make streets safe and convenient for users of all ages and all abilities.
If your city could be more convenient, more attractive, and get more out of its past investments, wouldn’t you want it to? That’s what Huntsville, AL was thinking about when they first became interested in a Complete Streets approach to street design.
Challenges and opportunities on the whiteboard at a Complete Streets workshop in Indianapolis last week. Photo by the Indiana Complete Streets Coalition, via Twitter.
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.
A scene from Sunday Streets HTX on Westheimer Road. Photo by Andrew Seng / University of Oregon Emerald via aaonetwork.org
It’s little secret that Houston, Texas, is on the rise. From 2000-2010, Census data shows that the city’s metro population grew by 26 percent to 5.95 million people. In 2013, that number had risen to 6.34 million, and the Houston metro expects to add another 1 million residents by 2020. While this growth is exciting, it also creates new challenges like stress on existing street infrastructure.
View of downtown Portsmouth. Photo by nhlinux via Flickr
Portsmouth officials, regional transportation officials, and members of the public met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 12 and 13, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The technical assistance provided City decision makers and transportation officials with the tools to help develop an action plan for implementing the City’s Complete Streets policy, which was adopted by City Council last fall. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or riding on public transportation.
View of Memphis’ South Main Arts District. Photo by Henry Turley Company via henryturley.com
In 2013, Memphis passed the nation’s 500th Complete Streets policy. To help move the policy to implementation, Memphis officials and residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 18 and 19, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop aimed to provide the City with tools to not only address the various design elements of Complete Streets, but also to directly communicate the benefits of Complete Streets to the public. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or hopping on public transportation.
Officials and residents of Kenosha County, in partnership with Downtown Kenosha, met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 6 and 7, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop provided the City with tools and strategies to develop a Complete Streets policy in line with the City’s Downtown Strategic Development Plan, which forms the basis of efforts to revitalize Kenosha’s downtown. A Complete Streets policy will help the City plan and design its streets to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or hopping on public transportation.
“Development of a Complete Streets policy will strengthen our commitment to being a healthy and safe community with a strong quality of life, and to welcome people by all modes of travel,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “Improving connectivity to Downtown Kenosha is an essential step toward implementation of the Downtown Strategic Development Plan. We are excited to partner with Smart Growth America and look forward to opportunities to make our downtown accessible to everyone.”
On the workshop’s first day, residents gathered for an introductory presentation that provided an overview of the benefits of Complete Streets and the policies that support them. The next day was an all-day workshop where key stakeholders met with instructors from the National Complete Streets Coalition to discuss the various types of Complete Streets policies, what the right approach could be for Kenosha, and how Kenosha can move forward with developing its own Complete Streets policy.
[caption id="attachment_29143" align="alignnone" width="700"] Cuyahoga County Courthouse Photograph courtesy OzinOH (via Flickr)[/caption]
Cuyahoga County officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 1 and 2, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aimed to give Cuyahoga County strategies to create a built environment that focuses on better and more accessible transportation options for all residents.
“Providing a multi-modal transportation network is a key component to Cuyahoga County’s guiding principles of designing a place-based development strategy. Under the leadership of County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, the County also recognizes the momentum of the City of Cleveland’s efforts to implement a Complete and Green Streets policy and embraces this opportunity to explore the concept of Complete Streets on the regional level,” said Glenn Coyne, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.
Photo courtesy of justinrummel via Flickr. Officials and local residents in Virginia Beach, VA met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 24 and 25, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops provided the city with the tools needed to create and implement a citywide complete streets policy. “The … Continued