This monthly newsletter issued by the National Complete Streets Coalition provides a roundup of news related to complete streets policies -- policies to ensure that the entire right of way is routinely designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Please pass it around! And visit www.completestreets.org to stay informed.
- City of Brotherly Love Embraces Complete Streets
- Connecticut General Assembly Passes Complete Streets Bill
- First Policy in Idaho!
- Resolution Adopted in Anderson, SC
- New York Legislature Introduces Complete Streets Bills
- Successful Briefing on Capitol Hill
- Federal Policy Update
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Show Your Support for Safe Routes to School
- A Brand-New CompleteStreets.org
- Coalition Welcomes Two New Partners
- Welcome Dan!
- Complete Streets Speaks
- Los Angeles Prepares to Complete the Streets
- Complete Streets Workshops: Indiana & Kansas
- NYC Debuts Street Design Manual
- Chicagoland Looks to Complete Streets Principles to Help Residents with Disabilities
- Seattle's Innovative New Bus Stops
- EPA Joins DOT, HUD in Partnership for Sustainable Communities
- American Academy of Pediatrics Links Built Environment with Health
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Around the Country
- Dear Editor
- Two Older Adults Die on Incomplete Streets
- Emergency Response and Street Design
- Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices
- Action Strategies for Healthy Communities
- PBIC Launches Updated Image Library
- Upcoming Conferences: Safe Routes to School, National Environmental Public Health
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
City of Brotherly Love Embraces Complete Streets
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed a Complete Streets executive order at a public ceremony on June 4, establishing Philadelphia as the first city in Pennsylvania to adopt a complete streets policy. The Complete Streets policy, soon available to read on the Mayor's site, will balance the needs of all users on Philadelphia's transportation network, be they pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, or motorists. It emphasizes the many benefits of complete streets, from cleaner air to more efficient use of road space, and pays special attention to the safety of its most vulnerable citizens: children, older adults, and those with disabilities. The Philadelphia Inquirer commended the Mayor's executive order in an editorial, adding that the next step is ensuring compliance. The National Complete Streets Coalition was represented at the event by Bill Johnston-Walsh, the senior manager for state operations at the AARP Pennsylvania office, and Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. Clarke did double-duty, as he also presented Mayor Nutter with the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community Award. The City is the first in Pennsylvania to receive the honor, making yesterday's event a particularly important landmark in moving toward a more livable Philadelphia.
Connecticut General Assembly Passes Complete Streets Bill
The General Assembly passed an amended version of S. 735, a Complete Streets bill, with the Senate voting overwhelmingly in favor and the House voting largely along party lines. The bill now awaits Governor M. Jodi Rell's signature; there is little indication of her position on the bill, though her top-ranking transportation staff have been supportive. Though amendments to the bill weakened its language, many strong components remain, including providing 1% of transportation funding to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, the creation of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and required reporting of all bicycle and pedestrian access projects funded by the State Transportation Fund and by federal programs such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ). As the Tri-State Transportation Campaign points out, the bill was amended with a unnecessary amendment allowing exclusion of projects where "accommodation of all users is not consistent with the state's or such municipality's, respectively, program of construction, maintenance and repair." Be sure to follow our blog in the coming weeks for updates on this legislation.
First Policy in Idaho!
The Coeur d'Alene City Council unanimously adopted a complete streets policy (.pdf) on May 5. The adopted policy addresses streets, bridges, and public transportation stops in the community, with specific policies for rural areas. The City's Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee aimed to have a long-term planning tool to facilitate accessibility for bicyclists and those with disabilities, as well as general multi-modalism. Councilman Goodlander commented that the policy is an opportunity for the city to move into the future, when cars are not the only way to travel.
Resolution Adopted in Anderson, SC
The City of Anderson recently endorsed complete streets through a resolution (.pdf), directing city staff to review existing policies and guidelines so that complete streets are integral to their process. The resolution calls for city staff to "plan for, design, construct, and operate all new transportation improvement projects to provide appropriate accommodation for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and persons of all abilities." According to the Independent Mail, Anderson County Interim Administrator Rusty Burns will soon introduce a county-level complete streets resolution.
New York Legislature Introduces Complete Streets Bills
As of June 1st, members of both houses of the New York State Legislature had introduced Complete Streets bills for consideration. Assembly Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt and Senate Transportation Committee Chair Martin Dilan have sponsored complete streets bills in their respective houses (A 8587 / S 5711). The New York Bicycling Coalition and AARP New York were the principal advocates; they were joined by numerous regional and local organizations. In New York State, 40% of all residents don't possess a driver's license and over 25% of all households don't own a motor vehicle, further underscoring the need to accommodate and protect all roadway users. The legislation would require that 'bicycle and pedestrian ways and safe access to existing and planned public transportation' be provided whenever a public road is built or reconstructed. Read more about the legislation and how to help the New York Bicycling Coalition in their press release (.doc) and on their website.
Successful Briefing on Capitol Hill
The room was packed on Friday, June 6th for the Capitol Hill briefing, Complete Streets: Integrating Safety and Livability into the Next Transportation Bill, sponsored by Representative Doris Matsui, the Environment and Energy Study Institute, Transportation for America, and the National Complete Streets Coalition. Presentations and streaming video of the briefing are available online. Dr. Ileana Arias, Director of the Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that every eight minutes a pedestrian is injured in the United States. Lavada DeSalles, a long-time volunteer and former Board member with AARP, noted that older Americans are particularly vulnerable - while persons over 65 years old make up 12% of the population, they comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. She also presented the results of the AARP report, Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America. The final two presenters, Mayor Bill Floyd of Decatur, GA and Jon Orcutt, Policy Director for the New York City Department of Transportation, showed the Congressional staff in attendance what complete streets policies look like on the ground. Both emphasized a federal complete streets policy would help them continue to make streets safe for everyone. Read more about the briefing in the Complete Streets Blog.
Federal Policy Update
Momentum for completes streets has been growing on Capitol Hill in the past few weeks. Representative Matsui [CA-5], our complete streets champion and sponsor of the Complete Streets Act of 2009, was joined by Representatives Carnahan [MO-3] and Sires [NJ-13], both members of the House T&I Committee, in a letter to committee leadership stating that complete streets is one of their highest transportation priorities for the bill. And as reported in our last newsletter, Representative Tauscher [CA-10] led a letter in support of including complete streets (.pdf) policy requirements for federally funded road projects in the upcoming transportation bill. Seventeen other members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee signed on to the letter, which was sent to Chairman Oberstar (MN) and DeFazio (OR): Rep. Carnahan [MO-3], Rep. Sires [NJ-13], Rep. Baird [WA-3], Rep. Bishop [NY-1], Rep. Boswell [IA-3], Rep. Capuano [MA-8], Rep. Cohen [TN-9], Rep. Edwards [MD-4], Rep. Filner [CA-51], Rep. Hare [IL-17], Rep. Hirono [HI-2], Rep. Johnson [TX-30], Rep. Lipinski [IL-3], Rep. McMahon [NY-13], Rep. Norton [DC], Rep. Perriello [VA-5], and Rep. Walz [MN-1]. Thanks to everyone that helped build support for the letter!
We are adding co-sponsors to the Complete Streets Act of 2009 (HR 1443/S 584). Since the last newsletter, Representatives Cleaver [MO-5], Holden [PA-17], and Price [NC-4] have signed on. Going forward, we are looking for strong support in the Senate as well. Help us add co-sponsors to the bills in the House and Senate by taking action today!
The American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454), the House climate bill that was recently passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, encourages complete streets policies as a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The National Complete Streets Coalition applauds the leadership of Representative Matsui, Committee Chairman Waxman, and Subcommittee Chairman Markey in addressing emissions from the transportation sector and ensuring that Americans have convenient, low-cost, low-carbon transportation choices. Read the letter of support we sent (.doc) to Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Markey.
With major transportation, climate and energy legislation coming before Congress in the next year or two, the Livable Streets Initiative has launched a new blog focused on federal transportation topics. Streetsblog Capitol Hill is updated daily with news and analysis of federal transportation policy and related issues. Be sure to check it out! One of the first items on the new blog was a 'Flashback' for those of you who don't remember our push for Complete Streets in the transportation bill in 2005, entitled "Obama Once Led Push for 'Complete Streets."
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Lee County, FL: WalkBikeLee, which recently celebrated the County's adoption of a complete streets resolution, is now working with the area Metropolitan Planning Organization on adoption of a complete streets policy. The MPO is set to review a resolution this Friday. (via the News-Press)
- Sherman, IL: A recently completed draft of Sherman's comprehensive plan call for incorporating complete streets in all new street projects. (Via the State Journal-Register)
- King County, WA: The County Board of Health recently adopted a resolution (.pdf) urging King County, the city of Seattle, and suburban cities to incorporate complete street designs in planning and construction of the roadway network to create streets that are comfortable and safe for all users.
Show Your Support for Safe Routes to School
A bipartisan group of Senators [Harkin (D-IA), Burr (R-NC), Sanders (I-VT), Merkley (D-OR), and Collins (R-ME)] introduced S. 1156, the Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act. The bill would expand funding for SRTS to $600 million per year, include high schools, simplify regulatory compliance to improve project delivery, and strengthen research and evaluation. All of these changes will make SRTS grants more widely available, and help more schools and communities across the country make it safer for children to walk and bicycle to school and get into healthier, greener habits; read the full details from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Take a few moments to contact your Senators today, asking them to cosponsor the legislation.
A Brand-New CompleteStreets.org
The National Complete Streets Coalition debuted a newly redesigned site earlier this month, chock-full of new features and resources that will be expanding over the coming weeks. We've launched a new blog to track complete streets progress as it happens, and a Twitter feed for those who like it short and sweet. We've given more prominence to our federal efforts, as well as to state and local campaigns happening across the country. Don't miss the new Complete Streets Atlas of all the complete streets policies across the country! We hope our many resources will be easier than ever to find and use. Credit for the redesign goes to State and Local Policy Associate Stefanie Seskin; be sure to drop her a line of thanks and share with any suggestions you have.
Coalition Welcomes Two New Partners
Two organizations have stepped up recently to become Complete Streets Partners: both the American Institute of Architects and the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, long-time collaborators on complete streets initiatives, have joined at the Bronze level. The American Institute of Architects has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857. The AIA serves as the voice of the architecture profession and the resource for its members in service to society, carrying out this goal through advocacy, information, and community. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District's overall mission is to achieve clean air goals by leading the region in protecting public health and the environment through innovative and effective programs, dedicated staff, community involvement, and public education. The AQMD's work involves interaction with local, state and federal government agencies, the business community, environmental groups, and private citizens. We commend the leadership both organizations have taken in complete streets, and thank them for their generous contributions. We invite other organizations to join the Coalition as Complete Streets Partners; read the details on our website.
The Coalition is excited to announce the latest addition to our staff, Dan Guilbeault. Dan joins us as our new Federal Policy Fellow, and will work full-time on building support for complete streets and advancing our goals on Capitol Hill. Dan spent nearly two years on the Hill, then attended the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he received a Master of Urban Planning degree. He can be reached at dguilbeault [at] completestreets [dot] org or 202-207-3355.
Complete Streets Speaks
Coalition Executive Director Barbara McCann and Jana Lynott of AARP addressed the Consortium for Human Transportation in mid-May. At 'CNU 17,' the annual meeting of the Congress for the New Urbanism held in Denver last week, Barbara McCann was joined by Craig Blewitt from Colorado Springs and Martha Roskowski from Boulder for a discussion moderated by Terri Musser on implementing Complete Streets with the Transect in mind. Also last week, FHWA, in cooperation with ContextSensitiveDesign.org, hosted a webinar with over 400 attendees, moderated by FHWA's Gabe Rousseau and featuring Barbara McCann and Michael Ronkin. We'll let you know when material from the webinar is available on line for viewing. If you're looking for some streaming video on complete streets, check out the Congressional briefing.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Los Angeles Prepares to Complete the Streets
Los Angeles, CA is the first community in the state to formally respond to last fall's statewide Complete Streets legislation (AB 1358). The City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee heard a presentation from the City's Planning and Transportation Departments on how they plan to implement the law. Their report, though, mostly focuses on pilot projects that have added bicycle and pedestrian facilities in some areas of the City. However, in a city of 3.8 million people, laudable pilot projects hardly go the distance in implementing complete streets. See the Green L.A. Transportation Working Group's blog and Streetsblog L.A. for local reactions to the report.
Complete Streets Workshops: Indiana & Kansas
Complete Streets will be the topic of an upcoming Urban Planning Scholar Series, presented by the Health by Design coalition in Indianapolis, IN. For two days, beginning Monday, June 29, Randy Neufeld of the National Complete Streets Coalition will lead workshop participants in creating action plans to assess community readiness for a complete streets policy; identifying needed changes in existing policy; and, implementing an advocacy campaign for complete streets policies on both state and local levels. Anyone interested in complete streets is welcome to attend, free of charge. To register, email your name and which session/s you wish to attend to: events [at] healthbydesignonline.org.
In Topeka, KS, our workshop instructors will engage local planners, engineers, and other decision makers during a full-day complete streets workshop on June 23; they'll also meet with elected officials to discuss how complete streets can make Topeka healthier and safer. Following the invitation-only workshop, the public is invited to a "Complete Streets Premiere" program at 3:30. The event will be recorded for a local televised special on complete streets. Want to bring national experts to your community to discuss creation and implementation of complete streets policies? Download our flyer (.pdf) for all the details.
NYC Debuts Street Design Manual
New York City has challenged how New Yorkers conceptualize their city streets by creating a new Street Design Manual that focuses on quality of life, environmental health, and accommodation of the many modes of transportation used by its residents. The recent transformation of Times Square and parts of Broadway into a pedestrian-dominated space is the most dramatic example, epitomizing their idea of making streets places that occupy individuals, not just vehicles. The manual streamlines the process of design for planners and developers and uses language that can be understood by the general public. The Street Design Manual is the latest step in institutionalizing NYC DOT's complete streets policy. The New York Times offers more details on the Manual, or check out Jon Orcutt's presentation at our Congressional briefing.
Chicagoland Looks to Complete Streets Principles to Help Residents with Disabilities
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Village of Arlington Heights, IL - in Chicago's northwest suburbs - recently agreed to discontinue their practice of removing deteriorating sidewalk ramps that do not lead to another ramp across the street. A contingent of residents who use wheelchairs and their supporters disagreed with the Village's practice, pointing out that removal of these ramps block access from sidewalks to streets that are vital routes for wheelchair movement in neighborhoods without sidewalks. Removal of sidewalk ramps, rather than replacement or repair of those in poor condition, can make travel for those with disabilities, not to mention parents with strollers, much longer by forcing them to take more circuitous routes. In another Chicago suburb, Orland Park, IL, the Southtown Star reports that Kim Kuster and her husband Joe, who both have visual disabilities, must carefully plan all their trips to avoid breaks in the sidewalk network and many dead-end streets. Some stores are built behind large parking lots with little pedestrian accommodation, making the simple act of walking to the entrances dangerous. The paper notes that Margo O'Hara, communications director for Active Transportation Alliance, is working with neighborhood residents to make the streets safe for all users, regardless of age or ability.
Seattle's Innovative New Bus Stops
Seattle, with its strong Complete Streets policy, is giving public transportation riders a much nicer place to wait for the bus through an innovative design that takes advantage of space on low-traffic side streets. The pictures are worth a thousand words, check them out at the Seattle Transit Blog or from Seattle's handout on the project (.pdf).
EPA Joins DOT, HUD in Partnership for Sustainable Communities
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Lisa Jackson announced during a Senate Banking Committee Hearing on Green Communities that the EPA will be joining with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in their Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Partnership seeks to break down agency silos and regulatory barriers to allow states and regions to undertake the planning and investment strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and provide residents with affordable, high quality places to live. The Partnership's six livability principles, which they will use to guide agency activity, were also announced. The first principle - to provide more transportation choices - was discussed in length, with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reiterating the importance of providing multi-modal transportation choices. The need to create walkable, bikeable communities with good access to transit was also mentioned by Jackson and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan as key to creating livable, sustainable communities and Jackson went on to say that pedestrians are the 'indicator species' of a healthy community. It is clear from the testimony given that complete streets fits with the goals and outcomes sought by this new Partnership. The National Complete Streets Coalition applauds EPA for joining in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and is thrilled to work with EPA, DOT, and HUD going forward to ensure that our streets are safe and convenient for everyone using them. Read more about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities on Smart Growth Around America.
American Academy of Pediatrics Links Built Environment with Health
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a strong policy statement that encourages pediatricians to advocate for policy changes to enable children to safely walk and bicycle in their communities. Smart Growth Around America does a nice job of summarizing the statement, or check out the many references in the full document.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Around the Country
- Sacramento, CA: The Local Government Commission, in partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (a Complete Streets Partner) will hold a full-day complete streets symposium on July 10. Read more and register on the event's website.
- Sacramento, CA: Area drivers are taking a car-free challenge this summer, but find that decades of incomplete streets hamper their efforts. (via the Sacramento Bee)
- Missoula, MT: The new district administrator for the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), Doug Moeller, recently announced that all future transportation projects in Missoula would follow the complete streets principle of accommodating pedestrians and cyclists. (Via Missoula News)
A number of local complete streets advocates have written to their local papers in support of planning and constructing our roads with all users in mind, regardless of age or ability. Letters came in from Karen Kafantaris, in the Lansing State Journal; Roberta Heiman, in the Evansville Courier & Press; and Janine Bauer, in the Tri-Town News. The letters page is one of the most widely read in local newspapers; even Congressional representatives and their staffs read it to understand how their constituents are feeling. Thanks to everyone who spent time writing in!
Two Older Adults Die on Incomplete Streets
On June 10th, John Wilson was hit and killed by a car when crossing on White Plains Road in Greenburgh, NY. The 66-year-old was crossing in a crosswalk when he was hit, but was not seen by the driver, who was making a left turn. Although there is a marked crosswalk, navigating the street safely is still difficult. According to the Journal-News, the area is close to two major bus stops, multiple apartment complexes, several office parks, hotels and restaurants, making it a well-traveled route for both cars and pedestrians. Runners, walkers and dog owners also use the area, residents said. However, Old White Plains Road lacks a complete sidewalk network and motorists face several blind spots.
After grocery shopping on June 11th, Virginia Noll was dropped off at the bus stop across the street from her home, an apartment building housing older adults. As she crossed South Washington Street around 5:30 pm, she was fatally struck by an SUV, reports the Citizens Voice. Her neighbor, Mary Cromack, commented that she had warned Noll to stay in, worrying that the 88-year-old would be hit while crossing a street. Another neighbor, Nicholas B. Borowitz, noted in the Times-Leader that the area was particularly dangerous for older adults, despite how many of them live in the area.
Deaths such as these are preventable. Complete Streets planning presents an opportunity to increase the safety and availability of older adults' travel options. The new AARP report, Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America, discusses this issue and makes specific recommendations to ensure older adults can travel safely and conveniently.
Emergency Response and Street Design
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has released an overview of its efforts in working with fire marshals and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create connected networks of traditional streets that work well for pedestrians, traffic, and emergency response access.
Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices
UNC Highway Safety Research Center has an updated Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) available online. This research study used extensive field-testing to determine which APS features and locations are most beneficial for blind and visually impaired pedestrians.
Action Strategies for Healthy Communities
The Leadership for Healthy Communities Action Strategies Toolkit is a new collection of current best approaches that have been identified, evaluated, and selected by Leadership for Healthy Communities and 11 policy-maker organizations. Among the many policy options with positive outcomes in healthy eating and physical activity behaviors, the toolkit specifically calls for complete streets policies on the local level to ensure safe walking and bicycling environments for all.
PBIC Launches Updated Image Library
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has updated and redesigned its pedestrian and bicycle image library. Hundreds of high quality, free images of people, transportation facilities, and livable places in the US and abroad are available for use in non-commercial projects. Have images you'd like to submit? The PBIC encourages users to submit their own related images, and is awarding a PBIC retro-reflective pants strap to one lucky user each week.
Upcoming Conferences: Safe Routes to School, National Environmental Public Health
Register today for the National Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Conference, to be held August 19-21 in Portland, OR. This year's themes include transportation infrastructure and safety; empowering families and youth; education and encouragement program development; health and evaluation; and growing the SRTS movement. Whether you are a local practitioner, transportation planner, advocate, school official, engineer, parent, health professional, researcher, non-profit partner, or with law enforcement, this conference will provide valuable information for propelling your Safe Routes to School work to the next level. Check out the conference program for more.
Also open for registration is the National Environmental Public Health Conference, in Atlanta, GA, October 26-28, 2009. Specific topics will include Healthy Places; Public Health and Environmental Exposures; Sustainability and Public Health; Environmental Systems and Public Health; Environmental Health Emergences; and Environmental Health Science and Practice.
"Transportation systems dramatically affect the design of communities in which we live, in turn the design of our communities affects our ability to engage in healthy behaviors. Transportation systems, therefore, can be used to support healthy communities essentially by allowing people to use all modes of transportation to move through the community they occupy in a safe and efficient way."
- Dr. Ileana Arias, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at June 5's briefing on Complete Streets: Integrating Safety and Livability into the Next Transportation Bill
"The signing of this Executive Order is just one in a number of steps that we are taking to make Philadelphia an even better place to walk, bike and take SEPTA. Making it easy for residents, commuters and visitors to choose to not use their cars is among the most meaningful contributions the City can make toward our goal of becoming America's number one green city."
- Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in the accompanying press release
"The widespread lack of physical activity in our nation has played a major part in the perpetuation of the obesity epidemic. A key factor contributing to the lack of physical activity is the absence of infrastructure to support or encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel as modes of transportation. The result of our collective inactivity has burdened New York State with over $6 billion annually in medical costs. That is why this bill is so important."
- New York State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, in Buffalo Rising