National Complete Streets Coalition

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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Indianapolis works to implement its strong Complete Streets policy with Smart Growth America workshop

indy-workshop-borderChallenges and opportunities on the whiteboard at a Complete Streets workshop in Indianapolis last week. Photo by the Indiana Complete Streets Coalition, via Twitter.

In 2012 the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council unanimously passed the Indianapolis Complete Streets ordinance, a policy intended to ensure that streets are designed, built, operated, and maintained to be safe and accessible for everyone, regardless of whether they travel by bus, bike, foot or personal vehicle. Indianapolis’ Complete Streets policy was the best in the nation that year, and remains one of the strongest city ordinances adopted to date.

Since the policy’s passage, Indianapolis staff and Health by Design partners have been working to ensure successful implementation of the policy and to monitor and track related performance measures. To help accelerate the move from policy to implementation, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition held a Complete Streets implementation workshop on June 10 and 11, 2015, as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop provided additional tools, resources and guidance for policy implementation. It also offered an opportunity to communicate the benefits of Complete Streets and local project examples to the public.

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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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Bipartisan coalition introduces the Safe Streets Act of 2015

safe-streets-act-2015

A new bill in the House of Representatives would help communities across the country make streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them.

Late yesterday, Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2015 (HR 2071), a bill which would require all new federally-funded transportation projects to use a Complete Streets approach to planning, designing, and building roads.

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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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Get the recap: “Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A guide for practitioners” webinar and discussion

On Tuesday, the National Complete Streets Coalition hosted a webinar on our newest resource, Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A guide for practitioners. The new guide is designed to help transportation professionals understand and use new measures of success, and provides an introduction to performance measurement for Complete Streets projects. The recording of Tuesday’s webinar is now available.

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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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A transportation engineer on what convinced him to use a Complete Streets approach

west-jefferson“Crazy ideas” in action: Complete Streets features in downtown West Jefferson, NC.

On Tuesday we hosted a panel discussion about Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, new research from the National Complete Streets Coalition on the outcomes of Complete Streets projects across the country. If you missed the event, read our full recap and watch the recorded webinar.

Dean Ledbetter, a Senior Engineer at the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), joined the panel to discuss the Complete Streets project in downtown West Jefferson, NC. There were so many questions about working with transportation engineers, and for Dean specifically, that we said down with him for a follow-up conversation.

Alex Dodds: You mentioned that you initially thought that Complete Streets was a “crazy idea,” but that eventually you changed your mind. What convinced you?
Dean Ledbetter: I don’t know if there was one specific thing. I think I had to go through the [Federal Highway Administration’s] training several times for the reality of something new to overpower the existing “knowledge” I had about what my job was supposed to be. And I have to admit that we only went to those classes to get the free Professional Development Hours not because we really expected to learn anything useful.

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