Before the Intersections conference in Nashville last week, some people might have been scratching their heads at the idea of a conference bringing together artists with transportation experts. But once the conference started, everyone keyed in on how much they could learn from one another and what they could accomplish together. Here are a few personal reflections from our staff about Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets.
Complete Streets Policy
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.
The Coalition has updated and revised the Complete Streets policy framework to require more accountability from jurisdictions and provisions that account for the needs of the most vulnerable users. The 10 revised policy elements are based on decades of collective expertise in transportation planning and design, created in consultation with engineers, planners, researchers, and advocates.
To conclude Complete Streets month at Smart Growth America, we’re proud to publish the brand new policy grading framework and scoring methodology. These changes come after our Steering committee voted to approve the framework in 2017. For months a group of national stakeholders, consisting of engineers, planners, researchers, and advocates, worked to revise the policy elements and truly raise the bar for what Complete Streets look like in practice. So it is only right that we spent the past month highlighting each of these revised elements and gaining a deeper understanding of the essence of Complete Streets moving forward.
As of the end of 2016, more than 1,000 jurisdictions in the United States have made formal commitments to streets that are safe and convenient for everyone—no matter their age, income, race, ethnicity, physical ability, or how they choose to travel—by passing a Complete Streets policy. Specifically, 13 communities led the nation in creating and adopting comprehensive Complete Streets policies last year.
Complete Streets can be formally adopted in a variety of ways, including ordinances, resolutions, agency policies, plans, and design guides. The Coalition has established ten key elements that are part of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy and approach. When both developing and implementing Complete Streets, these ten elements should be considered.
A proposed rule from USDOT rule would measure success in outdated ways and prioritize fast driving speeds over all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.
A call to action on the United States’ obesity epidemic, a challenge on safety from a federal cabinet secretary, new standards for transportation in Congress, and the first-ever perfect-scoring policy all made 2015 a banner year for the national movement for Complete Streets.
Local policies were a huge part of this momentum. In 2015, communities passed a total of 82 Complete Streets policies, and they are some of the strongest ever passed. In fact, in 2015 the city of Reading, PA adopted the first policy to ever score a perfect 100 in our analysis.
The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015, out today, highlights Complete Streets policies from across the country last year, including the 16 policies that were the nation’s best. Those communities were:
Each year, the Coalition reviews the policies adopted to date and assesses how well they meet the ten elements of a Complete Streets policy. The report highlights exemplary policy language and provides leaders at all levels of government with ideas for how to create strong Complete Streets policies.
On December 7, 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released its Complete Streets Implementation Plan, an ambitious and comprehensive commitment to change the way roads are designed and built in Florida to make them safer for all types of travelers, while also promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life.