Tag: Complete Streets

2014 TIGER grants will help create Complete Streets and great neighborhoods

dahlonega-gaDahlonega, GA will use its TIGER grant to make streets safer and more accessible. Photo via the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the winners of the 2014 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants.

With an emphasis on getting the highest bang-for-the-buck and solid partnerships, it’s not surprising that many of the winning street projects and plans are those that take a Complete Streets approach. Here are some of our favorites.

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USDOT announces new initiative to improve safety for people bicycling and walking

pedestrian-safetyThunderbird Avenue in Phoenix, AZ. Photo via Ped/Bike Images.

Americans today are walking and bicycling for fun, for their health, and as a way to get where they need to go. But in too many communities, roads are unsafe for people traveling by foot or bike. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced plans to help end this deadly problem.

At the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference this morning in Pittsburgh, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new federal initiative to make roads safer for people bicycling and walking. According to a USDOT release, the 18-month campaign will begin with road safety assessments conducted by USDOT field offices in every state, and will produce multiple resources to help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation.

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Changing development codes to promote smart growth in Memphis

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Downtown Memphis from across the Mississippi River. Photo by Joel, via Flickr.
Like many large southern cities, Memphis, TN’s growth over the past few decades has been characterized largely by sprawl and a focus on automobile travel. Josh Whitehead, Planning Director for Memphis and unincorporated Shelby County, is working to promote development downtown through the use of the city’s new Unified Development Code (UDC), which gives more flexibility to developers in order to facilitate infill growth.

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Since the workshop: Houston, TX continues to improve streets for all users

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A scene from Sunday Streets HTX on Westheimer Road. Photo by Andrew Seng / University of Oregon Emerald via aaonetwork.org 

It’s little secret that Houston, Texas, is on the rise. From 2000-2010, Census data shows that the city’s metro population grew by 26 percent to 5.95 million people. In 2013, that number had risen to 6.34 million, and the Houston metro expects to add another 1 million residents by 2020. While this growth is exciting, it also creates new challenges like stress on existing street infrastructure.

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City of Portsmouth, NH hosts workshop on how to implement its Complete Streets policy

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View of downtown Portsmouth. Photo by nhlinux via Flickr

Portsmouth officials, regional transportation officials, and members of the public met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 12 and 13, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The technical assistance provided City decision makers and transportation officials with the tools to help develop an action plan for implementing the City’s Complete Streets policy, which was adopted by City Council last fall. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or riding on public transportation.

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City of Memphis, TN hosts workshop on how to implement its Complete Streets policy

Picture for past workshops page post- Memphis
View of Memphis’ South Main Arts District. Photo by Henry Turley Company via henryturley.com 

In 2013, Memphis passed the nation’s 500th Complete Streets policy. To help move the policy to implementation, Memphis officials and residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 18 and 19, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop aimed to provide the City with tools to not only address the various design elements of Complete Streets, but also to directly communicate the benefits of Complete Streets to the public. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or hopping on public transportation.

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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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Complete Streets News – June 2014

Policy Adoption

In May, the City of Somerville became the latest Massachusetts jurisdiction to adopt a Complete Streets policy, and the first in the state to do so by ordinance.

Two Montana towns, Sidney and Hamilton, adopted Complete Streets policies in June, adding to the list of rural communities that recognize the importance of making streets work for everyone who uses them.

New Jersey continues to lead the nation in the number of communities with Complete Streets on the books. In the last month, the Coalition learned about eight recently adopted policies, including those in East Windsor, Elizabeth, Hightstown, Hillsborough, Pennington, South Brunswick, Summit, and Tenafly. These additions put the state’s total policy count over 100 at all levels of state and government.

New York State has also been steadily adding policies. The Lake Erie City of Dunkirk adopted a Complete Streets policy on May 20. Two days later, the City of Troy, in the Capital District, passed an ordinance adding Complete Streets as part of its city code.

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Kenosha County, WI hosts workshop on developing a Complete Streets policy

IMG_20140507_174359_349The Kenosha streetcar crossing 6th Avenue. Photo by Colin Murphy

Officials and residents of Kenosha County, in partnership with Downtown Kenosha, met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 6 and 7, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop provided the City with tools and strategies to develop a Complete Streets policy in line with the City’s Downtown Strategic Development Plan, which forms the basis of efforts to revitalize Kenosha’s downtown. A Complete Streets policy will help the City plan and design its streets to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or hopping on public transportation.

“Development of a Complete Streets policy will strengthen our commitment to being a healthy and safe community with a strong quality of life, and to welcome people by all modes of travel,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “Improving connectivity to Downtown Kenosha is an essential step toward implementation of the Downtown Strategic Development Plan. We are excited to partner with Smart Growth America and look forward to opportunities to make our downtown accessible to everyone.”

On the workshop’s first day, residents gathered for an introductory presentation that provided an overview of the benefits of Complete Streets and the policies that support them. The next day was an all-day workshop where key stakeholders met with instructors from the National Complete Streets Coalition to discuss the various types of Complete Streets policies, what the right approach could be for Kenosha, and how Kenosha can move forward with developing its own Complete Streets policy.

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Amanda Martinez is making strides to make Deerfield Beach, FL safer and more sustainable

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Deerfield Beach was the first community in the state of Florida to adopt Complete Streets guidelines in 2013, and that’s just the start of the city’s efforts to grow sustainably, encourage active transportation and make streets safer for residents. Amanda Martinez, Interim Director of the City’s Planning and Development Services Department, is finding the right partnerships and opportunities to make these changes happen with limited funds.

Deerfield Beach is a suburban community located in Broward County, FL with a population of 78,000. The beachfront city is a popular destination for both permanent and seasonal residents including the region’s senior population.

Deerfield Beach’s village feel distinguishes it from many neighboring communities, yet like much of Broward County it is essentially built out. With just three percent vacant land, the city is now looking at how to accommodate future growth through infill development and redevelopment while preserving the village quality that residents love.

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