Tag: Complete Streets

Complete Streets workshop helps Hot Springs, AR improve public health

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Bird’s eye view of downtown Hot Springs, AR. Photo by Samuel Grant via Wikipedia Commons.

Thanks to its thermal springs and mountainous setting, Hot Springs, AR, has long been a destination for health, wellness, and recreation. Over the years, however, the city has largely built a street network designed for the needs of automobiles—with little regard for the mobility of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders. Now, local officials in Hot Springs are recognizing that prioritizing car and truck travel to the exclusion of these other users has had a significant impact on the health and well-being of its community—and they’re working to make a change.

On September 17 and 18, 2014, Smart Growth America visited Hot Springs for a two-day workshop on drafting a Complete Streets policy—a package of codes and laws ensuring that streets are designed for community members of all ages and abilities. Provided as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program, the workshop helped provide Hot Springs with the tools to write a comprehensive policy and develop a plan to implement it.

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Complete Streets News – October 2014


Photo by Rob Ketcherside, via Flickr

U.S. Department of Transportation announces major street safety initiative — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it “the most innovative, forward-leaning” initiative “ever”, the department will be working toward safer places and safer policies for people on foot and bike, just as they do for people in cars, trucks, and airplanes. The initiative is heavy on changing the way we design our streets—the most important factor for improved safety—from start to finish. With new, research-based design guidance, partnerships with local, state, and national transportation staff and public interest groups, and a focus on interconnected networks, we expect big results. Read more >>

First-ever Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress — Presented by AARP Puerto Rico on October 3, the Congress convened 160 transportation, public health, and other community leaders who wanted to elevate Complete Streets policies and strategies across the island. Participants focused on public health issues and implementation of the state’s 2010 Complete Streets law. Read more >>

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El primer congreso de Calles Completas en Puerto Rico

AARP PR Director Jose AcaronJosé Acaron, director of AARP Puerto Rico, speaks before the Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress. Photo by AARP Puerto Rico, via Facebook.

The first-ever Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress for Professionals, presented by AARP Puerto Rico on October 3, convened 160 transportation, public health, and other community leaders who want to elevate Complete Streets policies and strategies across the island.

Covering topics ranging from the benefits of Complete Streets to best practices in implementation to design guidance, the event was featured insights from Complete Streets workshops instructor Paul Zykofsky; Ana Rius, Secretary of Health Department for Puerto Rico; Miguel Torres, Secretary of Transportation and Public Works for Puerto Rico; Zaki Mustafa, past present of Institute of Transportation Engineers, a National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee member; and long-time Complete Streets advocate Dan Burden.

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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

Picture for past workshops page- Portsmouth
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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