Over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the free, technical assistance Smart Growth America is offering in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Recast City. This FAQ addresses many of the common questions we’ve received.
SGA technical assistance
Smart Growth America’s technical assistance team has delivered workshops and support to communities all over the country. Learn more about our past work here:
Even after decades of safety improvements, more people are now dying on our roadways every year, especially people walking. This happens in part because we continue to design our streets to prioritize moving cars—not people—as quickly as possible, creating a dangerous, high-speed environment for all people who use the street. To test out creative approaches to safer street design, the National Complete Streets Coalition launched the Safe Streets Academy. We worked with three cities around the country to build skills in safer street design, creative placemaking, and community engagement, then helped the cities put these skills into practice. Through demonstration projects, the City of Orlando, FL, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, KY, and the City of South Bend, IN transformed their streets, intersections, and neighborhoods into slower, safer places for people. Communities around the country can learn from the stories of these demonstration projects to test out low-cost ways to create safer streets.
To address recurring, dangerous speeding problems on neighborhood streets, the City of South Bend launched a demonstration project to test out traffic-calming tools they had never used before including traffic circles, chicanes, and bump outs. They worked closely with the local community to decide where these traffic-calming strategies were most needed. They also added educational signs to help teach people how street design can improve safety by encouraging drivers to slow down while simultaneously creating more vibrant places for people. As a result of this demonstration project, drivers drove slower on these streets, and South Bend also built trust with the community. To replicate the success of this project elsewhere, South Bend will develop a toolkit based on this experience to launch additional traffic calming projects in other neighborhoods throughout the city to improve safety and convenience for people on foot or bike.
Two particular intersections along Bryan Avenue in Lexington, KY were dangerous and confusing places for everyone, including people walking, biking, and driving. Both intersections had unusual turning angles and missing crosswalks, and it was often unclear who had the right of way. To slow the speeds of cars traveling through these two intersections and transform them into safer, more predictable, and more comfortable places for people, a team from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government launched a temporary demonstration project. They worked closely with the local community and used inexpensive, flexible materials to redesign the intersections by redirecting cars and adding crosswalks and pedestrian refuges. Lexington also tested out more interactive strategies for letting the people in the community most affected by the project take the lead on envisioning safer streets.
The Orlando metropolitan region has long had notoriously dangerous roadways, especially for people walking. A team from the City of Orlando dedicated to improving safety launched a demonstration project on Curry Ford Road, a commercial arterial with a history of crashes involving people walking and biking that spans both the city’s and county’s jurisdictions. By collaborating with Orange County staff and with local elected officials, the team transformed this five-lane speedway into a three-lane Complete Street with protected cycle tracks and a mid-block crossing with a painted pedestrian refuge. Although local business owners and nearby residents supported the demonstration project, people who commute through the neighborhood were resistant to the changes, which raised important questions about the necessary trade-offs between safety and speed when designing safer streets for people.
Smart Growth America is once again soliciting applications for a new round of free technical assistance for communities interested in using small-scale manufacturing as a strategy to create economic opportunity, boost the prospects of Main Street, and build great places.
Through our Safe Streets Academy, teams from Orlando, FL, Lexington, KY, and South Bend, IN launched demonstration projects to transform their streets into safer places for people walking, biking, and driving. How did they do it? On June 12, we’re releasing case studies that tell their stories — stories that can help others around the country learn how to create safer streets in their own communities. Join us for a webinar on June 12 from 2:30-3:30PM ET to celebrate these projects and learn more about the cities’ experiences!
Through the Safe Streets Academy, three cities are build skills in safer street design, tactical urbanism, and community engagement. After our second workshop, the teams from Lexington, KY; South Bend, IN; and Orlando, FL applied these skills to launch on-the-ground demonstration projects testing techniques to slow down drivers and make their streets safer places for people.
This November, participants from Lexington KY, South Bend IN, and Orlando FL convened in Orlando for the inaugural workshop of the Safe Streets Academy. We spent two days laying the foundation for the Academy and conducting case studies and exercises on innovative strategies to improve safety through engineering countermeasures.
y finding new uses for its historic structures and working closely with the regional university, Pittsburg hopes to spur greater economic opportunity to attract new residents and keep students after graduation.