Tell the Federal Highway Administration to make good street design the standard

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THIS DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A HIGHWAY. US-62 in downtown Hamburg, NY is part of the National Highway System, and an example of why the system’s design standards should be flexible. Photo by Dan Burden.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is poised to issue new guidance about street design across the country. Will the new guidance include walking, bicycling, and transit facilities?

Last month, FHWA proposed revisions to its rule governing design standards for the National Highway System (NHS). That system includes interstates and other high-speed, high-volume roads, but it also includes a whole lot of routes you’d more likely call “Main Street.” Thousands of miles of the NHS are streets that serve commercial centers, homes, shops, parks, schools, and hospitals—places where people often walk, bike, or take public transportation, in addition to driving.

Safer Streets, Stronger Economies

What do communities get for their investments in Complete Streets? In this study of 37 projects, Smart Growth America found that Complete Streets projects tended to improve safety for everyone, increased biking and walking, and showed a mix of increases and decreases in automobile traffic, depending in part on the project goal. Compared to conventional … Continued

Secretary Foxx challenges mayors to a Complete Streets approach

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Left: Secretary Foxx, photo by USDOT. Right: people walking and bicycling in Charlotte, NC. Photo by James Willamor

Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets—inviting mayors and other local elected officials to take significant action to improve the safety of their constituents who walk or bicycle in the next year.

Their first action: attending the Mayors’ Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets this March.

Their second: Taking a Complete Streets approach locally.

Complete Streets News — January 2015

The Innovative MPO — A new resource from Transportation for America showcases more than 100 real-world examples and 20 detailed case studies from MPOs leading innovative initiatives. Created as a companion to The Innovative DOT, the report relates how MPOs of all sizes have stretched public resources, leveraged data for smart investments, and advanced regional and economic development priorities. Read more >>

Council Member Candace Mumm on making Spokane pedestrian-friendly

spokane A view of downtown Spokane. Photo by Mike Hoy, via Flickr.

In Spokane, WA safer streets and neighborhood vibrancy are going hand in hand. City Council Member Candace Mumm has a new crosswalk ordinance aimed at serving the community for both purposes. The ordinance – which passed with a 5 to 1 vote on September 8 – will require marked crosswalks to be installed at intersections adjacent to schools, parks, hospitals, trail crossings, and other high pedestrian traffic-generating locations.

"They're gonna need to see this upstairs."

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Smart Growth America President Geoff Anderson personally delivered the safety rule comments to USDOT.

“They’re gonna need to see this upstairs” — that’s what the staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation said about your letters this week.

By Monday afternoon, over 1500 of you made your voices heard in support of stronger transportation safety measures through our online action. Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America, personally delivered your letters calling on USDOT to require that states set real targets for reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our streets and that they be held accountable as they work toward those goals.

Taking the Silos Out of Transportation Safety

New research shows a relationship between strip-mall development and a higher likelihood of death or injury in traffic crashes for those 75 or older — building on previous research that streets safe for our most vulnerable users are better for everyone, regardless of who they are and how they travel. The complex variety of potential street users provides an opportunity for us to take a holistic approach to transportation and community planning, making our streets and towns safer and stronger.

Show Us Your Dangerous Streets

Photos of ‘incomplete’ streets — those built with speeding cars in mind and little thought to people traveling by any other mean — have been vital in explaining the necessity of Complete Streets policies across the country. Help us continue to tell the story of ‘incomplete’ streets by sharing your photos with our partners at Transportation for America.