Author Archives: Stefanie Seskin

Join us for the fifth annual Complete Streets dinner — January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC

cs-dinner-invite

How can you support safer streets, just by raising your fork? By joining us for the National Complete Streets Coalition’s fifth annual Complete Streets dinner!

Join us on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC to celebrate partnerships, progress, and over 650 Complete Streets policies nationwide.

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Donate for safer streets

Crosswalk

Every child knows to look both ways before crossing the street. But in many places, looking both ways isn’t enough: almost 18,000 children are hospitalized each year for pedestrian injuries.

We can do more to keep kids safe while walking or biking. A Complete Streets approach is fundamental to make streets safer for everyone—of all ages—who uses them. But towns can’t do it without our help.

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Complete Streets News — November 2014


Photo by Michael Hicks, via Flickr

Save the Date for our Annual Dinner — Join the National Complete Streets Coalition as we celebrate the successes of the Complete Streets movement at our fifth annual dinner! The dinner, an intimate event that brings together the top transportation minds for food and conversation, will be on Tuesday, January 13, during the Transportation Research Board’s 2015 meeting. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s featured speaker and how to purchase seats. Interested in sponsoring the event? Get in touch! Read more >>

Congratulations to Secretary Billy Hattaway! — Governing Magazine has named Florida Department of Transportation District 1 Secretary Hattaway one of its Public Officials of the Year. Governing focuses on Hattaway’s work to make Florida’s transportation network safer and friendlier for residents and visitors traveling by foot and bicycle. “Hattaway has traveled across the state, talking to staff and leading training sessions on road design and fixing problem areas…. Rather than issuing general guidelines, Hattaway is revising the technical documents used by engineers to incorporate updated requirements, such as increased sidewalk widths.” Read more >>

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Complete Streets News – October 2014


Photo by Rob Ketcherside, via Flickr

U.S. Department of Transportation announces major street safety initiative — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it “the most innovative, forward-leaning” initiative “ever”, the department will be working toward safer places and safer policies for people on foot and bike, just as they do for people in cars, trucks, and airplanes. The initiative is heavy on changing the way we design our streets—the most important factor for improved safety—from start to finish. With new, research-based design guidance, partnerships with local, state, and national transportation staff and public interest groups, and a focus on interconnected networks, we expect big results. Read more >>

First-ever Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress — Presented by AARP Puerto Rico on October 3, the Congress convened 160 transportation, public health, and other community leaders who wanted to elevate Complete Streets policies and strategies across the island. Participants focused on public health issues and implementation of the state’s 2010 Complete Streets law. Read more >>

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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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