Category: Complete Streets

Speaking out for smart growth issues leads to a better transportation bill in the Senate

Yesterday, the Senate finally passed its version of a six-year federal transportation bill. As you likely know by now, this bill will have a huge impact on how communities across America grow in the coming years.

We asked you to speak out about a number of issues related to this bill over the last few weeks. And right now, I want to say thank you for stepping up.

Many of the crucial provisions we championed—the Safe Streets Act, TIFIA financing for transit-oriented development, and protection of the TIGER grants program at the U.S. Department of Transportation—were included in the final version of the bill.

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Senate transportation bill includes landmark provision for safer streets

Senators Schatz, Heller, Franken, and Udall champion provision to address national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities

The Senate voted on its final six-year transportation reauthorization bill today, and included in the bill was a landmark provision to make streets across the country safer for everyone who uses them. The Safe Streets amendment would require states and metropolitan planning organizations to plan and design for the safety needs of all users—regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation—in all federally-funded projects.

“America is facing an epidemic of pedestrian deaths,” said Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “This bill will make a Complete Streets approach routine in federal projects. That means streets will be safer for Americans of all ages and abilities, no matter how they travel.”

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Change in plans

CA San Francisco Bus stop on Cesar Chavez credit Aaron Bialick Streetsblog SFA recent redesign of Cesar Chavez Street makes it better for people walking, bicycling, and taking transit and incorporates green infrastructure. Photo: Aaron Bialick, Streetsblog SF

This post is the second in a series of case studies about Complete Streets people, places, and projects. Follow the full series over the next several weeks.

In the late 1930s, the City of San Francisco had grand plans to build a third bridge across the San Francisco Bay. They designed a major arterial to lead to that bridge, but 80 years later those bridge dreams have never been realized—and the arterial was in sore need of an update.

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Now hiring: National Complete Streets Coalition Director

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, seeks a passionate, professional leader to serve as its Director. The successful candidate will build upon a decade of success by taking the Complete Streets movement to the next level.

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Houston, we have a solution

TX Houston bus Roy Luck flickrPhoto: Roy Luck via Flickr

This post is the first in a series of case studies about Complete Streets people, places, and projects. Follow the full series over the next several weeks!

Houston’s bold plan to redesign its bus system—the System Reimagining Project—is akin to a prima-ballerina dancing the final act of Swan Lake. The plan is so elegant, the results so awe-inspiring, that it’s easy to miss all the hard work that led to this moment. A comprehensive, creative, and thoughtful public input and outreach process led to broad support for this revolutionary new bus system.

Let’s start with the magic. In 2012, Houston and Harris County’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, or METRO, recognized its bus system needed an update. No one had taken a hard look at the system in three decades, even though Houston had grown into a more polycentric city and METRO had built the first of several planned light rail lanes. Instead of making minor adjustments, METRO’s board, with the nudging of board member Christof Spieler, an urban planner and transit advocate, decided to see what the system could look like if it were designed from scratch. The new plan, an almost complete remodel of Houston’s current bus system, was approved by METRO’s board just three years later, in February of 2015.

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Complete Streets News — July 2015

Photo via Live Well Sioux Falls

Read

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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Join us on Thursday for an inside look at transportation reauthorization in Congress

18-days

The current federal transportation bill will expire on July 31, 2015. In the coming weeks Congress will negotiate about dozens of programs and debate how to fund billions of dollars worth of projects. What will the current political landscape mean for local transportation projects, Complete Streets, and transit-oriented development?

Join Smart Growth America and Transportation for America for a special open conversation about what’s happening right now in transportation policy this Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 4:00 PM EDT.

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