Weekly News – Three New Policies

Experimental Left Turn Lane in Columbia, MO by Flickr User Ted Curtis
Experimental left turn lane in Columbia, MO by Flickr user Ted Curtis

Since our last update, we’ve hit three major milestones in policy adoption: the second-largest county in the United States announced a policy and two communities became leaders in New Jersey and Alabama by adopting the first policies in their states. These three jurisdictions have brought our numbers to 110 total jurisdictions with a stated commitment to complete streets, with over 30 policies adopted so far this year.

  • Cook County, IL – Last Wednesday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger announced a complete streets policy via executive order. With this new policy, Cook County will give new focus to developing a comprehensive, integrated and connected transportation network for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation riders.
  • Montclair, NJ – Marking a first in the state, Montclair’s Mayor and City Council unanimously voted in favor of a Complete Streets Policy at their  October 6 meeting. The policy (.pdf), first drafted by the Township Engineer, ensures that in both new construction and reconstruction, travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, and motorized vehicles and their passengers shall be safely accommodated. Following a failed attempt to adopt complete streets hindered by fear of costs, the new policy mandates additional costs for pedestrian, bicyclist, or transit accommodations over 5% be funded by local tax dollars. We hope Montclair will arrive at the same conclusion as other communities implementing complete streets: following complete streets policies add little to no expense to existing transportation budgets.
  • Fairhope, AL – In a first for Alabama, Fairhope City Council passed a resolution on October 12 to follow a complete streets policy in all future roadwork. In support of local advocacy organization Smart Coast (http://www.smartcoast.org/smartcoast/html/home.html), the National Center for Bicycling and Walking – a steering committee member of the National Complete Streets Coalition – will hold a series of meetings and events with with local mayors, commissioners and council members throughout the Mobile Region. (Mobile Press Register)

Alameda, CA: Planning Board President Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft makes the case for a more bike-friendly Alameda, with a complete streets policy to ensure all users – bicyclists, pedestrians, public transportation riders, and drivers – are accommodated when building or reconfiguring roads. (SF Gate)

Eureka, CA: Two national experts on complete streets will be presenting to decision-makers, staff, engineers, and emergency service personnel this Tuesday, October 20, on the need for complete streets to ensure healthy, active communities along California’s North Coast. The half-day training is open to the public for a $10 fee. (American Planning Association California Chapter)

Denver, CO: Eight city departments are collaborating to bring complete streets to Denver through the Living Streets Initiative. A recent Denver Post article explains the economic benefits of streets that designed and operated to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and drivers. (Denver Post)

Chicago, IL: The League of Illinois Bicyclists released its audit of recent Chicago-area road projects, (In)Complete Streets, this week. In looking for how pedestrians and bicyclists were accommodated in the projects, the League found that local governments do a better job than the state Department of Transportation – who has yet to implement a complete streets policy mandated by a 2007 law. (Chicago Tribune)

Lexington, KY: Residents attended a public meeting last night to discuss how complete streets can make the city more “people-friendly.” With strong support from Mayo Jim Newberry, the meeting is one of several ongoing discussions that will ultimately change transportation policy and design standards in Lexington. (Lexington Herald Leader, Lexingtonky.gov)

Boston, MA: The Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation reviewed its neighborhood sustainability efforts during its annual meeting, looking at both housing affordability and complete streets as ways the community can be more green while also remaining economically feasible for residents. (Wicked Local)

Hattiesburg, MS: A new non-profit comprised of community leaders, businesses, and passionate supporters – the Pinebelt Pathways Partnership – has set its goal on a more walkable, bikeable region. They hope to have Hattiesburg City Council adopt a complete streets policy before years end. (Hattiesburg American)

St. Louis, MO: Local blogger and Regional Director of Development at Washington University, Alex Ihnen, writes why a complete streets policy is key to improve the City’s public transportation. “It’s not enough to connect someone from one public transit stop to the next,” he says. “Public transit must connect to its surroundings, to shopping, to work, to home.” (NextStop STL via Saint Louis Urban Workshop)

Helena, MT: City Commission candidates gathered earlier this week to discuss their visions for Helena’s future, including adoption of a complete streets ordinance. “There should be no reason why our kids can’t walk everywhere and bike everywhere,” said one candidate. Another added, “The streets are crowded and, frankly, we can do a better job as a city.” (Helena Independent Record)

New Jersey: A coalition of advocates – the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New Jersey Future, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, AARP New Jersey, Disability Rights New Jersey, and Environment NJ – are calling for a statewide complete streets policy. Their action is partially in response to findings that there has been a 33% increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2008 to 2009. Through September 30, 2009, New Jersey saw 121 pedestrian fatalities, compared to 91 through the first three quarters of 2008. (Ashbury Park Press)

National: Researchers have found that residents of healthy neighborhoods – with sidewalks, good public transportation, parks, and access to healthy food – are 38% less likely to develop diabetes. (Yahoo! News)

Complete Streets