Author Archives: Stefanie Seskin

Complete Streets News — July 2015

Photo via Live Well Sioux Falls

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Tell the Federal Highway Administration to make good street design the standard — The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is poised to issue new guidance about street design across the country. The proposed rule, as written, does not provide sufficient guidance for integrating safe, context-appropriate facilities for walking, bicycling, transit use, and driving and we want FHWA to cite widely-used guides that help designers create Complete Streets. Read more and take action >>


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Tell the Federal Highway Administration to make good street design the standard

hamburg
THIS DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A HIGHWAY. US-62 in downtown Hamburg, NY is part of the National Highway System, and an example of why the system’s design standards should be flexible. Photo by Dan Burden.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is poised to issue new guidance about street design across the country. Will the new guidance include walking, bicycling, and transit facilities?

Last month, FHWA proposed revisions to its rule governing design standards for the National Highway System (NHS). That system includes interstates and other high-speed, high-volume roads, but it also includes a whole lot of routes you’d more likely call “Main Street.” Thousands of miles of the NHS are streets that serve commercial centers, homes, shops, parks, schools, and hospitals—places where people often walk, bike, or take public transportation, in addition to driving.

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DRIVE Act could step up Complete Streets implementation

Indy Mass Ave credit Ian FreimuthThe Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, IN exemplifies design flexibility in creating streets that are safe and inviting for walking, bicycling, and driving. Photo by Ian Freimuth.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved its draft six-year bill, the DRIVE Act, this week. Included in the bill are several provisions that would provide the long-term stability that states, regions, and local communities need to plan and build good projects and offers important steps forward for safe, multimodal streets.

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Complete Streets News — June 2015

Photo by John Greenfield

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Core Values: Why American companies are moving downtown — Safe, convenient, and attractive streets are in demand, and a growing number of employers are moving to places where their employees can easily walk, bike, or take transit to lunch or a meeting with a client. In fact, hundreds of companies across the country have relocated and invested in walkable downtowns in the past five years. Join Smart Growth America on June 18 to dig into the who’s, how’s, and why’s–and to pick up some ideas for creating places more and more companies want to be. Register for the launch event >>

Safer Streets, Stronger Economies — The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is spreading the word that Complete Streets approaches to transportation projects can help people get where they need to go safely—and contribute to economic development. The June edition of the ITE Journal features an article based on our research. And, on July 9, ITE will host a webinar with Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, and Dean Ledbetter, Senior Planning Engineer at North Carolina Department of Transportation, about the safety benefits of Complete Streets. Register >>


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Complete Streets News — May 2015

Photo by Dylan Passmore

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Show your support for Safe Streets — Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA-5) and David Joyce (R-OH-14) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2015 (HR 2071) on April 28. The bill would require states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to adopt a Complete Streets policy for planning, designing, and building streets. Representatives Matsui and Joyce were joined by 17 additional original cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

Join us in supporting the Safe Streets Act by telling your Representative that you care about Complete Streets. It only takes a few minutes. Send a letter today >>

Senator Brian Schatz, joined by eleven colleagues, sent a letter to Senator Jim Inhofe, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging him to promote and prioritize safety for all users in the upcoming reauthorization of federal transportation law. Read more >>

AARP launches Livability Index — The AARP Public Policy Institute introduced its interactive, easy-to-navigate tool to measure quality of life in communities. The Livability Index pulls together data on 40 metrics and 20 policies in categories such as housing affordability, transportation access, air and water quality, and health statistics to create a composite quality of life score for users to compare communities and identify areas of improvement. The Index is searchable by address, city, and zip code, and scores can be weighted by personal preferences. See more >>


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Complete Streets News — April 2015


Photo by Oregon Department of Transportation

Complete Streets benefit communities — In our new report, Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, we examined the economic, safety, and multimodal travel benefits of 37 Complete Streets projects from across the country. We found that most projects improved safety, encouraged more multimodal trips, were cost-effective, and helped to support local economic development. Leaders and transportation professionals involved in projects in North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, and Seattle joined us for a lively discussion of the challenges and successes of a Complete Streets approach on our launch-day webinar. Watch the recording >>

One traffic engineer’s Complete Streets journey  In case you missed it, our follow-up Safer Streets, Stronger Economies interview with North Carolina’s Dean Ledbetter is a compelling read. Ledbetter, a traffic engineer who led the transformation of West Jefferson, NC’s main street, shares his initial skepticism of pedestrian safety improvements and how his thinking shifted over time. Read more >>


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“Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A guide for practitioners” now available

ecsp-coverCommunities have seen amazing results from their Complete Streets projects. These projects have made streets safer, increased the number of people biking, walking, and taking transit, and have been related to broader economic gains. But too few communities measure these results.

Our newest guide is designed to make it easier for transportation professionals to understand and use new measures of success. Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A guide for practitioners is a beginners guide to performance measures for Complete Streets projects published today by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Meant for agencies interested in but just beginning their project evaluation efforts, this resource provides general first steps to take in evaluating projects, useful measures and metrics for common Complete Streets goals, tips for sharing successes, and further resources for those ready to dive deeper into the why and how of performance measurement for Complete Streets.

Measuring project performance can help transportation agencies understand what’s working and what’s not. It’s a crucial way for agencies to align project decisions with established goals, and can clearly demonstrate a project’s success. All of this can help transportation agencies build public support for their work and get the most out of their investments. Our new guide is a great first step in achieving these goals.

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Register for today’s webinar on “Evaluating Complete Streets Projects”

Communities have seen amazing results from their Complete Streets projects. These projects have made streets safer, increased the number of people biking, walking, and taking transit, and have been related to broader economic gains. But too few communities measure these results.

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New research outlines five reasons to build Complete Streets

What have communities gotten for their investments in Complete Streets?

Fewer automobile collisions and injuries, and more people biking, walking, and taking transit. These projects were inexpensive yet can be effective, and were related to broader economic gains.

These are the findings of Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, released today by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition. The new report analyzes data from 37 Complete Streets projects across the country, and explores the outcomes communities got for their investment. Our new research finds:

Streets were usually safer: Automobile collisions declined in 70 percent of projects, and injuries declined in 56 percent of projects.
This safety has financial value: Within our sample, Complete Streets improvements collectively averted $18.1 million in total collision costs in just one year.
The projects encouraged multimodal travel: Complete Streets projects nearly always resulted in more biking, walking, and transit trips.
Complete Streets projects are cheap: The average cost of a Complete Streets project was just $2.1 million—far less than the $9 million average cost of projects in state transportation improvement plans. 
They can be an important part of economic development: Our findings suggest that Complete Streets projects were supportive of increased employment, net new businesses, higher property values, and new private investment.

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Complete Streets News – March 2015

Photo by San Francisco Bicycling Coalition

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Safer streets, stronger economies — How well do Complete Streets projects achieve transportation goals like safety and throughput? How do they support broader economic efforts? Our new report, out on March 24, looks at data from dozens of Complete Streets projects from across the country to compare the outcomes communities get from their investments. On Tuesday, join our online discussion to hear from Seattle, North Carolina’s Department of Transportation, the Central Florida Partnership, and the Mayor of Normal, Illinois. Register today >>

Evaluating Complete Streets projects — In tandem with our Safer Streets, Stronger Economies report, we’ve developed an introductory guide on how agencies can measure the impact of Complete Streets projects. The guide includes a comprehensive list of relevant measures and metrics related to access, safety, economic impact, the environment, and quality of place. It’s out on March 31, with a webinar featuring an expert panel. Register today >>

USDOT Mayors’ Challenge update — On March 12, the U.S. Department of Transportation kicked-off a year of action on improving safety for people walking and bicycling in cities nationwide by hosting an all-day summit at DOT headquarters in Washington, DC. As of last week, nearly 190 communities have signed on. Nearly 70 have already committed to Complete Streets by adopting a policy and several more have already stated their intentions to adopt a policy as part of the Challenge. Read more about the summit >>

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