The Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017

Last November, the National Complete Streets Coalition released a new and improved policy framework for grading Complete Streets policies. Our revamped Elements of a Complete Streets Policy raises the bar by calling for stronger commitments to both equity and implementation (see Complete Streets Month). To celebrate the new framework, this year we’re highlighting 12 of the best … Continued

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Announcing the Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017

This year we’re highlighting 12 of the best Complete Streets initiatives, projects, and champions around the country in lieu of our typical annual Best Complete Streets Policies report. The Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017 celebrates the people and communities that are setting an example for implementation and equity in Complete Streets which are an important part of the new Complete Streets grading framework that will take effect next year.

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Best Complete Streets Initiatives: Baltimore City Councilman Ryan Dorsey


Councilman Ryan Dorsey, in collaboration with the advocacy organization Bikemore, drafted a groundbreaking Complete Streets ordinance for the City of Baltimore. The Complete Streets ordinance, if adopted, will introduce stringent, binding requirements to proactively reduce disparities in community engagement, project delivery, and performance measurements. The proposed ordinance is the result of a yearlong stakeholder engagement process that has built a broad coalition of supporters to oversee the adoption and implementation of this ambitious ordinance.

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Best Complete Streets Initiatives: VELO Bloomfield


Based in Bloomfield, NJ (18 miles from New York City), VELO is a media and advocacy organization that informs and educates the public and policymakers on how to make the streets of Northern New Jersey safer for people, regardless of gender, age, race, disability, and/or socioeconomic status. VELO approach to equity includes raising the profile of transportation issues to policy and decision makers in working class, Latinx, and African-American communities. VELO excels in their community engagement efforts by not requiring people to alter their daily routines to participate. Since their launch, they have championed Complete Streets implementation, particularly in the immediate Bloomfield area, and amplified the voices of community members around transportation policies.

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Best Complete Streets Initiatives: Las Cruces, NM

Opening day at Plaza de Las Cruces. Photo courtesy of Victor Gibbs.
Las Cruces, NM is one of many cities across the U.S. creating a more mixed-use, accessible, and walkable community. The key to their success? A Downtown Master Plan that recognizes the strong connection between land use and transportation. Originally adopted back in 2004, the Downtown Master Plan is a living document that reflects the community’s vision. This plan was crucial to the city’s adoption of a form-based code and advancement of Complete Streets initiatives, including a recent flagship project, Plaza de Las Cruces.

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Best Complete Streets Initiatives: Rochester, NY


Through the Inner Loop East Transformation Project, the City of Rochester, NY is reimagining its street network by putting people and place before cars. The project supports the city’s vision for a more vibrant, connected downtown by converting an outdated urban expressway into a walkable, bikeable Complete Streets boulevard that reconnects the neighborhoods once divided by the expressway. This project is an important step in achieving the goals set forth in the city’s Complete Streets ordinance and Master Plan.

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How Massachusetts is encouraging communities to take action on Complete Streets

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is taking action to encourage more Complete Streets projects across the state through its Complete Streets Funding Program. Last week, we hosted a webinar highlighting the program.

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Since the workshop: Complete Streets improvements kick off Kaua’i County, HI’s downtown renaissance

hardy-street3New sidewalks near the intersection of Rice Street and Hardy Street, and at the entrance to Wilcox Elementary School. Photo via the County of Kaua’i.

County leaders in Kaua’i, HI are working to revitalize the Līhu’e Town Core as a vibrant, walkable heart of the island, with Rice Street as its main street. In 2008, the county crafted its Holo Holo 2020 plan to guide that work, and in 2014 they asked Smart Growth America to inform that work with a parking audit workshop. What has Kaua’i been up to in the time since?

Over the last year, Kaua’i has gotten started on its revitalization work with Complete Streets improvements to Hardy Street. New sidewalks, turn lanes, bike lanes, on-street parking, and street plantings will eventually run the entire length of Hardy Street, which is parallel to Rice and curves around to intersect with it in the heart of Līhuʻe’s town core.

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An interview with Dongho Chang, Complete Streets engineer

WA Seattle Dongho Chang
Seattle’s chief road engineer Dongho Chang, next to Broadway’s new protected bike lane. Photo via the Green Lane Project on Facebook.

When activists painted a guerrilla bike lane in Seattle, they didn’t expect a traffic engineer to thank them. But that’s what Seattle traffic engineer Dongho Chang did, commending for bringing attention to the safety issue — and then installing a more permanent treatment soon after. Chang spoke with the National Complete Streets Coalition about a few of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s signature projects, the inspiration for his work, and what he’s learned in 25 years of traffic engineering.

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