Saying that the “Complete Streets mindset” is the problem when a transportation agency builds a dangerous high-speed road and calls it a “complete street” is like calling for the repeal of the Clean Air Act when a highway agency claims their widening project will reduce emissions.
Designing streets for slower speeds are directly connected to improving safety and reducing deaths. So what does it look like to prioritize safety over speed in practice?
Ames, Iowa made national headlines this fall for painting rainbow crosswalks and then ignoring a request from USDOT to remove them. The incident highlights one way outdated federal guidelines prevent communities from making their streets safer and more pleasant with art and culture. But there are other ways for communities to add some color to streets while improving safety without running afoul of the feds.
On January 23, 2019, the National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2018, the most up-to-date look at how dangerous each state and large metro areas are for people walking. Join us for a webinar to hear from experts about the report findings and how we can address this epidemic of pedestrian deaths.
(Image courtesy of Alta Planning + Design)
Successful implementation of Complete Streets requires much more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Rural and small towns often face distinct challenges from urban areas when it comes to improving the conditions for people walking and bicycling. The National Complete Streets Coalition recently spoke with Andrea Clinkscales, Senior Planner at Alta, to learn about some of the obstacles smaller communities may face, along with potential solutions to implementing Complete Streets.
The Federal Highway Administration made two big moves this last week to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets.
Both of these updates are great news for anyone advocating for streets that better meet the needs of everyone that uses them, as well as better serving the goals of the surrounding community. FHWA deserves a big round of applause for making these changes.
If you are working on a local transportation project and your DOT or some other agency cites vague federal rules when refusing to build a safe and complete street, show them the FHWA memo below. Their guidance makes it extremely clear: there’s wide latitude to design streets to best suit local needs, and old regulations that treat all roads like highways have been rolled back.
In the last decade, from 2000 through 2009, more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed in the United States – the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing roughly every month. On top of that, more than 688,000 pedestrians were injured during that time as well – a number equivalent to a pedestrian being struck by a car or truck every 7 minutes.
Despite the magnitude of these avoidable tragedies, little public attention and even less in public resources have been committed to reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries in the United States. On the contrary, transportation agencies typically prioritize speeding traffic over the safety of people on foot or other vulnerable road users.
Transportation for America’s Dangerous by Design 2011 examines this problem and America’s streets that are “dangerous by design” — engineered for speeding traffic with little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on bicycles.
This year’s edition of the report is accompanied by an interactive map that tracks pedestrian fatalities from 2001 to 2009 across the country. Type an address and click on any point to see the available information about the victim, the date, the location, the street type and even what the road looks like via Google Street View.