- California Complete Streets Bill - Final Vote Imminent
- Columbus, OH Adopts Complete Streets Resolution
- New Guam Law Requires Bicycle, Pedestrian Improvements
- Complete Streets Federal Policy
- Incomplete Streets a Barrier for Older Americans Seeking Relief from High Gas Prices
- Complete Streets for Older Adults Survey
- Best Practices Manual Gets Federal Funding
- Thanks to Lisa Jacobson, Hello to Stefanie Seskin
- Mayors Innovation Meeting
- Blogging Complete Streets
- New Online Donation Form
- Work for Complete Streets
- Completing the Streets in Minnesota
- Los Angeles Bike Commuters Highlight Need for Complete Streets
- Complete Streets Recommended in South Carolina
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements in Boston
- Freeway Transformations Across North America
- New York State Opens Funding for Bicycles and Pedestrians
- Healthiest Hometowns Have High Numbers of Cyclists, Pedestrians
- Strong Relationship Between Older, Walkable Neighborhoods and Health
- Incomplete Street Factor in Pedestrian Deaths
- Complete Streets Focus of Smart Growth Network
- Pervasive Need for Accessibility in Housing and Transportation
- Multi-Modal Level-of-Service Indicators
- STEP Program Seeks Input
- September Complex Intersection Design & ADA/Accessibility Courses
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
California Complete Streets Bill - Final Vote Imminent
A complete streets bill, AB 1358, was heard by the full Senate this week. After undergoing a round of amendments on August 11, the bill is set for final vote today. The Sacramento Bee printed an editorial yesterday urging the Senate to pass the bill. Sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and AARP, and supported by a host of other groups, the bill requires cities and counties to include complete streets policies as part of their comprehensive plans, so that roadways are designed to safely accommodate all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, older people and disabled people, as well as motorists. Read the bill here (pdf), and check our website for the results!
Columbus, OH Adopts Complete Streets Resolution
In late July, a Complete Streets resolution was unanimously approved by the Columbus, Ohio City Council and signed by Mayor Michael B. Coleman. City staff sees the resolution as the preamble to that policy. The resolution requests the city administration implement Complete Streets policies, so that "the entire right of way of every Columbus roadway is designed and operated to enable safe access for…pedestrians, bicyclists, motorized two-wheel vehicles, transit vehicles and users and motorists of all ages and abilities." To learn more, read the resolution (pdf), an article in the Columbus Local News, and see the supporting PowerPoint presentation.
New Guam Law Requires Bicycle, Pedestrian Improvements
Territory of Guam Acting Governor Mike Cruz signed a complete streets bill into law last month. The law, Public Law 29-98, mandates that "inclusion of bicycle lanes and pedestrian ways shall be part and parcel of the planning, development, construction, reconstruction or other change of transportation facilities, plans, programs of primary and secondary roads on Guam." It is now under review by Department of Public Works consultants for incorporation into the 2030 Guam Transportation Plan. Read the text of the law here. (Via CenterLines.)
Complete Streets Federal Policy
Support for House bill H.R. 5951, introduced by Representative Matsui, has grown by leaps and bounds since our last newsletter. Joining the six previously mentioned cosponsors are Rep. Jackson-Lee (TX-18), Rep. Shays (CT-4), Rep. Moran (VA-8), Rep. Waxman (CA-30), Rep. Carnahan (MO-3), Rep. Grijalva (AZ-7), and Rep. Price (NC-4). Don't see your congressional representatives on the bills? Encourage your Representative and Senators to sign on via our action page where you can personalize and send a letter asking your Members of Congress to support the federal complete streets legislation.
Incomplete Streets a Barrier for Older Americans Seeking Relief from High Gas Prices
A new poll released today by AARP documents how incomplete streets are making it tough for older Americans to avoid paying the high price of gasoline. Almost 40 percent of those polled say they don't have adequate sidewalks in their neighborhood, 55 percent say that they don't have bike lanes or paths, and 48 percent say there is not a comfortable place to wait for the bus. Most sobering, almost half (47%) of poll responders say they cannot cross the main roads safely.
AARP's Senior Vice President for Livable Communities Elinor Ginzler put it succinctly: "More Americans age 50+ are trying to leave their cars behind but face obstacles as soon as they walk out the door, climb on their bikes or head for the bus," said Ginzler.
Of those who reported an inhospitable environment outside their homes, more than half, 54%, said they would walk, bicycle, and take transit more if their streets were improved. This shows the tremendous unmet potential of our street network to provide more ways to get around.
Read the AARP news release on the poll and see more in a post on the Smart Growth America blog.
Complete Streets for Older Adults Survey
The poll is part of a bigger AARP project to be sure that the concerns of older travelers are addressed in street planning and design. The Complete Streets for Older Adults project is also gathering data through a survey being fielded by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. The survey asks questions about design issues that affect older drivers and pedestrians, to see whether the recommendations in the FHWA Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians works equally well for both groups. The survey also includes a series of questions about complete streets policies and how well they address the needs of older travelers. Please contribute to this project by filling out the survey. Those who respond will get first crack at the results. To visit the survey, click here.
Best Practices Manual Gets Federal Funding
The Federal Highway Administration has awarded the American Planning Association and the Coalition funding to produce the Complete Streets Best Practices Manual. The funding is through the Federal Highway Administration's competitive STEP (Surface Transportation and Environment Cooperative Research Program) grants and allows us to commence the research phase. See the APA's project webpage for more information. This is truly a Coalition effort, as steering committee members from a number of groups have donated their time, and many places with good policies are expected to contribute their knowledge. The Manual will be made available to steering committee organizations and will be a resource on how best to approach complete streets. Additional funding for the project is coming from the Harvest Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and the Ruth Mott Foundation.
Thanks to Lisa Jacobson, Hello to Stefanie Seskin
Our first Complete Streets Fellow, Lisa Jacobson, has finished her six-month stint and is headed back to school. Her help was invaluable in getting the Best Practices Manual and Older Driver projects going, and we thank her for her help and wish her all the best. Stefanie Seskin is our new Complete Streets Fellow. She comes to us from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Masters degree in Urban Planning and Policy. Stefanie is going to be helping with the Complete Streets Implementation Project and other outreach to communities working to implement complete streets, as well as maintaining our ever-growing database of projects and our website. So watch for emails from her!
Mayors Innovation Meeting
Barbara McCann traveled to Madison, Wisconsin recently to speak to the Mayor's Innovation Project meeting, which devoted an entire day to hearing about non-motorized transportation initiatives. You can learn more about the project and view presentations given online.
Blogging Complete Streets
The Natural Resources Defense Council featured complete streets in its Switchboard blog authored by Kaid Benfield. See it here for a very readable explanation of the concept and how it fits in with smart growth.
New Online Donation Form
Our successes are directly related to your support. With out new online donation page, expressing your dedication for Complete Streets is easier than ever.
Work for Complete Streets
The Coalition is looking for a new intern! To find out more about this exciting opportunity, check out the listing through Smart Growth America.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Completing the Streets in Minnesota
Minnesota is home to a multitude of complete streets initiatives this month. As reported in MinnPost, Minneapolis is transforming two of its busiest streets to better accommodate pedestrian, bus, and automobile traffic. The newly rebuilt streets, with two dedicated bus lanes, will allow transit to move twice as many people three times as fast. The City hopes to have a number of streetscape improvements as well.
Bike Walk Twin Cities announced that it will fund the creation of five "bike walk" streets this year - known elsewhere as bike boulevards. The twelve miles of street will have features such as raised crosswalks, new pavement markings, reduced auto speeds, landscaping, benches, bike lanes, and off-street trails. Bike Walk Twin Cities is managing the federal Non-Motorized Pilot Program grant for the area. Read more in the Transit for Livable Communities newsletter, On the Way.
However, no jurisdiction in Minnesota currently has a complete streets policy, and in Forest Lake, about 30 miles north of the Twin Cities, grassroots cycling groups have banded together to establish a "Complete Streets Initiative," advocating for more crosswalks, sidewalks, bike lanes, medians, wider shoulders, bus pullouts, and raised crosswalks. For a compelling description of the difficult street environment in the area, read the full article in the Forest Lake Press.
Los Angeles Bike Commuters Highlight Need for Complete Streets
A recent Wall Street Journal article chronicles the struggles of several women during their daily commutes, highlighting the incomplete street network they face. Paula Rodriguez's fifteen-mile ride features glass shards, garbage cans in the bike lane, and screaming drivers. She is often forced to ride on the sidewalk, which is illegal in LA. Michelle Weinstein's commute combines subway and bus rides with cycling. She battles with car traffic several times during her commute and has to wait when she cannot put her bike on the bus rack because it is already full. Such stories emphasize the great need for complete streets planning to ameliorate current unsafe and unfriendly conditions.
Complete Streets Recommended in South Carolina
A climate change Advisory Committee created by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is recommending implementation of complete streets policies as one way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee's (CECAC) transportation and land use analysis and recommendations suggest that ensuring that "all new roadways and streets accommodate all modes of personal transportation where practical and feasible" is a key way to enable personal trips to move from single occupancy vehicles to lower-GHG-emitting transportation options. The entirety of the report is available online.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements in Boston
Boston has taken its first steps in becoming a friendlier city for pedestrians and bicyclists. An extensive article on the plight of the pedestrian in Boston outlines new progress on that front. Boston plans to redesign several main streets to increase safety and usability, reconnect downtown with the waterfront, and provide aesthetic cohesiveness. Several advocates in the Boston area are also pushing for changes, including the adoption of complete streets policies, in hopes of pushing the pedestrian to the fore. Among bicycling advances are the eventual installation of 250 bike racks and the first two bike lanes in the city. Mayor Thomas M. Menino hopes to create a network of bike lanes throughout the city in the coming years. Read more about the bike lanes in the Boston Globe.
Freeway Transformations Across North America
The July/August issue of the New Urban News gives detailed case studies of the successes and setbacks being experienced in Toronto, New Haven, Seattle, Buffalo, and Trenton as these cities consider transforming highways into boulevards and the re-establishment of street networks. By razing a few miles of limited-access highways, more travel modes are possible, including bicycling, walking, and possibilities for mass transit where none may have previously existed.
New York State Opens Funding for Bicycles and Pedestrians
Governor David Paterson recently signed a new state law to allow DOT highway funds (Marchaselli funds) to be spent by local governments for use on bicycle and pedestrian paths. This funding source has historically been used only for road projects. Assemblyman Sam Hoyt of Buffalo sponsored the bill, which will open up $39 million in potential funds for non-motorized projects, including as a match to federal funds. (via New York Bicycling Coalition.)
Healthiest Hometowns Have High Numbers of Cyclists, Pedestrians
AARP Magazine published its top ten healthiest cities in the September/October 2008 issue. Leading their cities with the "greenest commuters" (highest percentage of those who walk or bike) were Ithaca, NY at 16.88%, State College, PA at 12.75%, and Corvallis, OR at 12.03%. Check out the rest of list.
Strong Relationship Between Older, Walkable Neighborhoods and Health
A University of Utah study, published late July in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found a strong relationship between older, walkable neighborhoods, and lower body-mass indexes (BMI). The researchers used information on density of intersections, percentage of residents who commute by walking, and median age of homes to index census blocks for walkability. They then matched this to self-reported heights and weights provided for over 500,000 driver licenses issued in Salt Lake County. Adding 10 years to the age of a neighborhood decreased obesity risk by 8 percent for women and 13 percent for men. Read more about the study in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Incomplete Street Factor in Pedestrian Deaths
A third fatal crash this year along a road in a Maryland suburb of DC is leading to calls for sidewalks. A man and a pregnant woman who had just gotten off a bus in suburban Prince George County, Maryland were struck and killed as they walked down the shoulder this week. The Washington Post story features the words of the victims' families, police, and traffic engineers.
Complete Streets Focus of Smart Growth Network
The August edition of Getting Smart!, the newsletter of the Smart Growth Network, is all about Complete Streets. It includes articles on the many benefits complete streets bring to a community, some planning and design guidelines, and two great case studies on Decatur GA and Boulder CO. You will need to sign up as a Smart Growth Network member to access the article (membership is free).
Pervasive Need for Accessibility in Housing and Transportation
The current issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association features an 18-page article, "Aging and Disability: Implications for the Housing Industry and Housing Policy in the United States" that reveals the breadth of the need for universal access. The new study reveals that up to 60% of all houses in America will at some point be home to at least one resident with long-term mobility impairments. The analysis debunks common resistance to creating accessible housing, which is based on the claim that people with mobility impairments make up a small portion of the population. The analysis does not include those who will suffer short-term disabilities or the need to host visitors with disabilities. By implication, the research shows that transportation infrastructure must be designed and constructed not only to meet current needs, but also in anticipation of future disabled travelers. The wide-ranging nature of disabilities highlighted in the study is a further impetus for implementation of complete streets in all street networks. Read the entire JAPA article via Concrete Change.
Multi-Modal Level-of-Service Indicators
The Victoria Transport Institute recently updated its online Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Encyclopedia with an article on Multi-Modal Level-of-Service (LOS) Indicators. It describes LOS rating systems suitable for evaluating the quality of various transportation modes from a user's perspective, which helps "create more neutral planning decisions." Several examples of Multi-Modal LOS are provided, as well as LOS indicators for pedestrians, bicycles, and transit.
STEP Program Seeks Input
The Surface Transportation and Environment Cooperative Research Program (STEP) is seeking input for additional research project topics. Visit the website for more; the deadline for comment is September 22.
September Complex Intersection Design & ADA/Accessibility Courses
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) is offering two full-day professional development courses in conjunction with the Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference in Seattle next month. The offered courses are:
- Real Intersection Design: Get RID of Rhetoric on September 2, and
- Designing Facilities for Pedestrian Accessibility on September 6.
The registration deadline for both is August 15; contact Deb Goeks (deb [at] apbp [dot] org) after August 15 for availability. Register online through APBP or the Pro Walk/Pro Bike site.
"What we're talking about here is sharing the road. What we're talking about in our society is nothing short of a revolution in the city of Columbus."
- Mark Kelsey, Director, Public Service Department, Columbus OH, in Columbus Local News
"Transportation commissioners of the past have always been about 'move the car, move the car.' The world is so different now. It's cars and bikes and wheelchairs."
- Thomas Tinlin, Transportation Commissioner, Boston MA in the Boston Globe