National Complete Streets Coalition

Complete Streets News – April 2014

Policy Adoption

The Middletown, CT Planning and Zoning Commission voted last month to incorporate a Complete Streets Master Plan as an amendment to the city’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The plan’s development was led by a citizen committee working closely with the Common Council and Mayor Daniel Drew, and its adoption will ensure Complete Streets principles are integral part of the city’s long-term planning process. Read more >>

The city council in Columbus, GA, which had been working toward a Complete Streets policy since the fall, resolved in March to adopt the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets design policy as its own guide for all local transportation improvements. Read more >>

The Philadelphia-area community of Cherry Hill, NJ, adopted a Complete Streets policy in late March. The resolution provides additional backing for the commitment to multimodal accessibility the township made in its 2013 pedestrian and bicycle master plan. Read more >>

Chattanooga became the latest Tennessee city to adopt a Complete Streets measure, when city council adopted an ordinance on April 1. The new policy builds on the successful launch of a 33-station bikeshare system in 2012—the largest new system in the country at the time—which galvanized local support for inclusive transportation policy and infrastructure. Read more >>

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Making Complete Streets real in Maryland

Maryland local leaders participate in a walking tour to learn about Complete Streets in Mt. Rainier, MDMaryland local leaders participate in a walking tour to learn about Complete Streets in Mt. Rainier, MD.

Maryland members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council met last Thursday for a workshop titled “Making Complete Streets Real,” sponsored by Smart Growth America and 1000 Friends of Maryland. Councilmember Brent Bolin hosted the event at the Mount Rainer City Hall and gave an insider’s tour of local smart growth initiatives after the workshop.

Many of the leaders who attended the workshop are currently developing new Complete Streets policies, and the conversation focused heavily on how to move from policy adoption to effective implementation and talking publicly about the value of this work. Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening noted, “It is important to make clear how Complete Streets relate to larger and deeper community goals.”

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Councilman Jon Snyder on how Complete Streets are helping to improve Spokane, WA

Bike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via FlickrBike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via Flickr.

During his first term on the Spokane, WA City Council, Councilman Jon Snyder, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, experienced a lesson that he has carried with him since. “As a leader, you need to understand the difference between a policy that may take several years to develop, and those that represent a flaw in the system that should be called out and remedied quickly.”

Councilman Snyder worked for two years to pass a Complete Streets ordinance (PDF) in Spokane, a process that took time, perseverance and creativity. Snyder credits a broad coalition of support to the ordinance’s eventual passage in 2011: During the meeting where the City Council approved the ordinance, a diverse group of community members, including representatives from schools, older adults, persons with disabilities, the local farmers’ market, and businesses all spoke in favor of policy adoption.

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Top spring break destination this year is your Congressional representatives’ district offices

Springtime on Capitol Hill. Photo by Kate Harbath via Flickr.

As the adage goes, April showers bring…Congress home for spring break!

Spring break is a great time to meet with your Senators or Representative in your community and ask them to support the Safe Streets Act (S. 2004/H.R. 2468), which encourages communities to consider safety improvements for all users in transportation project planning.

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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 – March 2014

Policy Adoption The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted a Complete Streets policy in early March. The policy is a key part of the region’s 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan, which emphasizes the expansion of the transit, pedestrian and bicycle networks. …

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The last frontier: Complete Streets in Alaska

anchorageThis multi-use sidepath in Anchorage, AK is maintained and used for transportation year-round. Photo courtesy of Lori Schanche, Anchorage Department of Public Works.

Last month, Senator Mark Begich of Alaska introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2014 (S. 2004), which requires states and regions to adopt Complete Streets policies for federally funded transportation projects.

Why would a Senator from the nation’s coldest state introduce legislation that supports walking, biking and transit? Complete Streets strategies aren’t just for big cities or warm climates. Smaller cities and towns across the country are embracing Complete Streets, with policies now in place in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

In Alaska, communities as far north as Fairbanks and North Pole are putting Complete Streets principles to work as more and more residents get around without getting in the car. And these efforts are paying off. The state ranks highest in the U.S. in the percentage of walking and biking commutes and in per capita funding for non-motorized transportation, and third-lowest in fatality rate among walkers and bicyclists.

A new implementation brief about Complete Streets in Alaska has even more information about the strategies being used by this snowy state. Here are some highlights from the brief.

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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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Hear the recap: The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013 online discussion

best-cs-policies-2013-coverYesterday we unveiled The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013 and to celebrate we hosted an online discussion with representatives from many of this year’s top-scoring communities. Panelists gave listeners a behind-the-scenes look at how many of this year’s policies were created, and provided insights for how other communities create strong policies of their own.

If you were not able to join us for yesterday’s event, an archived recording is now available.

Watch the archived recording

Watch the archived webinar
Download the presentation (PDF)

Joining yesterday’s event were Roger Millar, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition; Chris Kuschel, Regional Planner, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Massachusetts); Mayor James R. Walker of Peru, IN; Mark Demchek, Executive Director of the Miami County, IN YMCA; Karen Mendrala, Livability Planner for Fort Lauderdale, FL; Mayor Jonathan LaBonte of Auburn, ME; Craig Saddlemire, Chair of the Bike/Ped Committee for Lewiston/Auburn, ME; Rick Taintor, Planning Director for Portsmouth, NH; Andrew Fangman, City Planner for Muscatine, IA; Chris Schmiesing, City Planner for Piqua, OH; Jamie Parks, Complete Streets Program Manager for Oakland, CA; Bob Vinn, Assistant City Engineer for Livermore, CA; Aric Schroeder, City Planner for Waterloo, IA; and Mayor Jon Crews of Cedar Falls, IA.

Thank you to everyone who participated. The event provided great information for experts and newcomers alike about how public policies can build safer, more convenient streets for everyone.

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Announcing the best Complete Streets policies of 2013

Livermore, CALivermore, CA is included among the top of The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013.

A total of 83 communities adopted Complete Streets policies in the United States in 2013. These laws, resolutions and planning and design documents encourage and provide for the safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013, released today by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition examines and scores each Complete Streets policy enacted in 2013. The report outlines ten ideal elements of a Complete Streets policy and scores individual policies based on these ideals. Policy elements refine a community’s vision for transportation, provide for many types of users, complement community needs and establish a flexible approach necessary for an effective Complete Streets process and outcome.

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