Tag: Transportation

FDOT’s new Complete Streets implementation plan will take policy into practice

fdot-cs-plan-coverIn September 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) adopted a Complete Streets policy to help make streets safer for everyone in the state. Now, a new plan created in partnership with Smart Growth America will help turn that policy into on-the-ground changes.

On December 7, 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released its Complete Streets Implementation Plan, an ambitious and comprehensive commitment to change the way roads are designed and built in Florida to make them safer for all types of travelers, while also promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life. FDOT developed the plan in partnership with Smart Growth America and our program the National Complete Streets Coalition over a period of nine months through our Multimodal Development and Delivery technical assistance process.

For many years, Florida ranked among the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrians, with disproportionately high rates of pedestrian fatalities according to our 2011 report, Dangerous by Design. The department’s 2014 Complete Streets policy laid the foundations for making streets safer. Early last year FDOT took the next step and asked Smart Growth America to help fully integrate a Complete Streets approach into the department’s practices, decisions, and investments.

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2016 federal appropriations bill increases funding for transportation, housing, and urban development

On December 18, President Obama signed into law a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the federal government until September 30, 2016. This funding will support many federal programs that build more equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities nationwide. …

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LOCUS calls provisions in transportation bill a major step forward for walkable urban development

Today, as the President is expected to sign into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the long-awaited five-year federal transportation bill, Christopher Coes, Managing Director of LOCUS, a program of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement.

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Safe streets provisions in FAST Act represent a huge step forward in the effort to strengthen local communities

Late last night, Congress passed a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Notably, the bill requires all design for National Highway System roadways to take into account access for all modes of transportation. It also makes NACTO’s Urban Design Guide one of the standards for when the U.S. Department of Transportation designs roads, and it permits local governments to use their own adopted design guides if they are the lead project sponsor, even if it differs from state guidelines.

Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, issued the following statement in response.

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Maryland leaders talk innovative transit solutions

MD workshopMembers of the Maryland Chapter of the Local Leaders Council gather in Baltimore to discuss local transit solutions.

Transit service makes walkable urban places work better for all users, but finding affordable, flexible, scalable transit is a major hurdle for communities pursuing smart growth. The Maryland Chapter of the Local Leaders Council convened a workshop in Baltimore on November 12 to dig in to what works, considering very different solutions from three very different places.

Ten elected leaders and staff brought varying concerns to the table. Mayor Gee Williams of Berlin, MD, population 4,562, is focused on accommodating visitors. “During the last ten years we’ve become a destination community – this is now our chief economic driver. The vision we are in the early stages of discussing is how we can accommodate up to 3,000 guests in a small downtown area. We also have a challenge for our residents to access downtown services every day.”

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This week: How will the House improve its version of the transportation bill?

Last week the House of Representatives passed its initial version of a multiyear transportation bill. This bill has the potential to make streets safer across the country, help communities build more homes and offices near transit, and give more control of transportation investments to local communities. In order for this to happen, though, the House’s version of the bill needs to improve considerably.

Representatives agree: they’ve filed more than 200 amendments to the current version of the bill. Today the Rules Committee will decide which ones to allow to the floor. And then later this week, the full House will vote on all the amendments and create their final version of the bill.

Make the next transportation bill a forward-looking one: Send a letter to your representative this morning >>

Several amendments under consideration would improve how the bill supports walkable communities served by transit, including:

  • Amendment #18 from Representative Lipinski of Illinois, which would make transit-oriented development (TOD) eligible for RRIF funding.
  • Amendment #21 from Representative DeSaulnier of California, which would improve planning and project selection performance measures and transparency.
  • Amendment #37, also from Representative Lipinski, which expresses the Sense of Congress that TOD is an eligible activity under the RRIF program.
  • Amendment #47 from Representative Schakowsky of Illinois that would require a study and rule on safety standards or performance measures to improve pedestrian safety.


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What could your community do with a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America?

Salisbury Walk AuditCouncil President Jake Day of Salisbury, MD participates in the Walkability Audit.

Each year Smart Growth America offers a limited number of free workshops to help communities use smart growth strategies to achieve their goals for economic and environmental sustainability. Local Leaders Council members have used these workshops in very different ways. “The workshops we offer range from general introductions to very specific tools like the Parking Audit,” explains Elizabeth Schilling, Smart Growth America’s Deputy Director of Policy Development and Implementation, who teaches the Smart Growth Implementation 101 workshops. “In our most successful communities, leaders pick the right tool for the problem at hand, then design an outreach strategy to engage really diverse groups of problem solvers.”

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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 reaches preliminary agreement on a long-term transportation bill

The following is a cross-post from Transportation for America.
A group of key Senate leaders announced just a few moments ago that they’d reached agreement on a bipartisan six-year transportation bill with three years of guaranteed funding.

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Vermont Agency of Transportation sets new standards for excellence

vermont-state-standardsThe Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is working to create a safe, efficient, multimodal transportation system that supports the state’s growing economy. A new report released today will help VTrans do this even better in coming years.

VTrans, in partnership with Smart Growth America, has unveiled a work program for revising the Vermont State Standards, which provide VTrans staff and other partners with direction in designing roadway transportation projects.

The new report, Revising the Vermont State Standards; M2D2: Multimodal Development and Delivery, identifies specific modifications to the Vermont State Standards, recommends changes to other related VTrans guidelines and policies, and presents an implementation plan and schedule for conducting the revisions. The new revisions will help VTrans keep pace with the state of the practice in highway engineering and better meet and balance the diverse needs of Vermont residents and communities.

“An enormous amount of our work is influenced by the Vermont State Standards,” said Vermont Transportation Secretary Sue Minter. “Updating these standards will help the work of the entire Agency be more efficient and more effective. The recommended revisions were informed by some of the most innovative transportation agencies in the country. This work program will help guide our design decisions as we face new challenges in the coming decades.”

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