Author Archives: Stefanie Seskin

Join our team of Complete Streets expert instructors

Fairbanks wkspRyan Snyder facilitates discussion at a Complete Streets workshop in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Our Complete Streets workshop program is in high-demand, working with communities from Maine to Hawaii on the policy and process tools needed to create streets that are not just safe bur welcoming for all modes of travel and for people of all ages and abilities.

In cooperation with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), we will train an additional 5 to 7 nationally recognized professionals to join our instructors corps. Two instructors co-teach each of our full-day, highly interactive workshops, one person an expert in engineering and design and the other in policy and planning. They contract directly with APBP or SGA and are paid a flat fee for preparation, instruction, and travel.

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Last chance to tell USDOT to set real safety goals

Students walk along street with no sidewalks next to automobile traffic.

There’s just one week left to tell the US Department of Transportation to get serious about safety and accountability.

In MAP-21, the current federal law governing national transportation investments, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to set certain measures of progress for the state transportation agencies. In March, USDOT unveiled its proposal for measuring and showing progress in reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries both as pure numbers and as a function of vehicles miles traveled (VMT). Congress clearly stated that they wanted a “significant reduction” in fatalities and injuries for all users on all roads, and they doubled the amount available through the related safety program to help achieve that goal.

USDOT’s proposal falls short. Send a letter to Secretary Foxx today.

First, states only need to show progress in two of those four goals, which is out of step with Congressional intent.

Second, the process for setting goals and measuring progress is out of line with the goals states already develop—and no where near visionary or inspiring. Instead, USDOT would use a historical trend line to establish targets each year. States make “significant progress” by achieving fatality or injury numbers within a 70 percent confidence interval of that projected trend line. If a state’s target is determined to be 759 fatalities, so long as it sees fewer than 825 fatalities, USDOT will say that it has made progress. More people can die or be seriously injured without consequence.

Our third issue with the rulemaking: it doesn’t separate non-motorized users from motorized. In doing so, states could lose sight of growing safety problems in walking and bicycling among the larger share, and generally downward trending, of vehicular safety.

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Hear the recap: “Dangerous By Design 2014″ online discussion

dbd-2014 (1)Yesterday, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition released Dangerous by Design 2014, a report documenting preventable pedestrian fatalities and what can be done to make our streets safer for everyone.

We hosted an online discussion with experts working on strategies and tactics to improve pedestrian safety in cities and towns nationwide.

If you weren’t able to join yesterday’s event, the recorded version is now available.

Watch the archived webinar

Speakers on yesterday’s call included Craig Chester, Press Manager, Smart Growth America; Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director, National Complete Streets Coalition; Corinne Kisner, Program Manager, Designing Cities Initiative at National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO); Steven Spears, Principal, Design Workshop; and Amanda Day from Best Foot Forward in Orlando, FL.

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Dangerous by Design 2014 highlights preventable pedestrian fatalities

VA Rt 1 roadside peds credit Cheryl Cort

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people were killed while walking – sixteen times the number of people who died in natural disasters, but without the corresponding level of urgency. But these deaths can be prevented and it is past time for our state and federal leaders to act.

Dangerous by Design 2014, a new report released today by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, takes a look at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, presenting data from every county, metro area, and state. The report also ranks the major metropolitan areas according to the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which assesses the safety of walking by normalizing fatality rates by how often people walk to work, and by the share of traffic fatalities suffered by people on foot.

As in past years, Sunbelt communities that grew in the post-war period top the list of most dangerous regions according to the PDI: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Miami, Memphis, Birmingham, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte. These areas developed rapidly, with many low-density neighborhoods overly dependent on extra wide, fast arterial roads to connect homes, schools, jobs and shops. Such roads rarely feature the facilities needed for safe travel by foot.

The report also calls out the unacceptably high number of pedestrian deaths seen in nearly every major metro region. The fact is that even our most walk-friendly communities can—and must—do more.

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New tool kit highlights Complete Streets lessons from the southeast that any community can learn from

cs-se-toolkit-coverThink you need to look to the west coast or the northeast for Complete Streets best practices? Think again. The southeastern United States gets the spotlight in a new tool kit developed by AARP and the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America.

Communities in the southeastern United States are home to one in five of the nation’s 600+ Complete Streets policies, and transportation agencies, community leaders and residents are actively implementing Complete Streets practices. This new tool kit takes a comprehensive look at those efforts and distills advice and lessons for others in the region. Readers will find success stories from several of these communities, template presentation and media materials, and activities to help make multimodal accommodations become a routine part of project development.

The information and stories in this tool kit are not just great examples for communities in the southeast: they are great examples for any community. Any community can find inspiration for their own Complete Streets efforts from project development processes used in Charlotte, NC, from the detailed implementation reports issued by Lee County, FL, or from the strong connections between community organizations and city departments in Greenville, NC. With this tool kit, communities across the country will be better equipped to create age-friendly communities.

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USDOT’s proposed safety rule gives agencies a pass on progress

Get out your commenting pens, folks, because the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed rule for measuring progress on safety needs a lot of work.

In the 2012 transportation law, MAP-21, Congress directed the DOT to set measures of progress in a number of areas that could be used to hold transportation agencies accountable. The first one out of this gate last week was safety. [See the full rule as published in the Federal Register here.]

It should have been a triumph for people concerned about the lives and well-being of all users of the road network. For the first time, Congress emphasized that state DOTs would need to significantly reduce the number and rate of deaths and injuries on our roadways. And the DOT’s rhetoric in the new rule suggests that as their intention.

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Complete Streets News – February 2014

Policy Adoption

Hot off the presses! The latest edition of the Coalition’s annual policy analysis, The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013, was released yesterday. Each year, the Coalition scores every ordinance and resolution in the country on ten elements of an effective Complete Streets policy. Of the more than 80 Complete Streets policies adopted across the country in 2013, the small Boston suburb of Littleton, MA, scored highest. Another 14 jurisdictions—large and small, urban, suburban and rural—were highlighted in the report for their well crafted Complete Streets policies, and representatives from most of the top-scoring communities participated in Smart Growth America’s webinar discussing their work. This year’s analysis found that adopted policies are getting stronger, with more jurisdictions including solid implementation steps than ever before. Read full report >>

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How do you shovel a bike lane? New resources for maintaining Complete Streets in snowy weather

nyc-dot-bike-lane-snowCrews clear snow from a pedestrian and bicycle path in New York City last week. Photo by New York City Department of Transportation via Twitter.

A large swath of the country is still digging out from the most recent round of winter snow storms, deploying plows, snow blowers, shovels, sand, salt and even cheese to keep people moving. Many of these strategies focus on keeping roads clear for drivers. What about for people who walk, bicycle or rely on transit?

Complete Streets is a process for funding, planning, designing, building, operating and minting community streets so that travel by all modes is safe and comfortable. In climates where snowfall is expected, Complete Streets mean thoughtful roadway design and appropriate plans and policies for snow and ice management for all users.

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You are invited to the fourth annual Complete Streets dinner

Rina_CutlerRina Cutler, Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, will be our featured guest

The National Complete Streets Coalition will host its annual dinner next month—and we hope you’ll join us!

This year, we’re honored to have Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities for Philadelphia, as our featured guest. Hailed as a Public Works Leader of the Year and one of COMTO’s Women Who Move the Nation, she recently led efforts to develop Philadelphia’s Complete Streets Design Handbook, a model for Complete Streets implementation. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter appointed Ms. Cutler to her current position in 2008, where she is responsible for coordination and oversight of all transportation functions and several city agencies.

The National Complete Streets Coalition’s annual dinners bring together the top minds working for Complete Streets across the country, including our national Steering Committee members, our well-known corps of workshop instructors, staff from our Partner organizations—and you! Together, we’ll celebrate recent Complete Streets successes nationally and locally and forge friendships with colleagues and peers over informal discussion.

We’ll be dining on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC’s Woodley Park neighborhood. Seats are available for $150. Head table seats are available for $200. Click here to reserve your tickets online. Current and new Complete Streets Partners receive a significant discount, and Partners at the Silver level and above are eligible to receive complimentary seats.

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Complete Streets News – November 2013

Get our monthly Complete Streets News delivered straight to your inbox: Join our mailing list today! Policy Adoption The Peru, IN City Council unanimously approved a Complete Streets ordinance on November 4, and the community is already discussing its first …

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