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.
- Three New Policies!
- New Jersey Groups Call for Statewide Policy
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Topeka Misses the Point
- Federal Policy Update
- Coalition Welcomes New Partner, Members
- Webinar: Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America
- Complete Streets on the Road
- Newspapers Focus on Travelers with Disabilities
- Livability in the Spotlight
- Complete Streets in Our Neighbor to the North
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Around the Country
- Incomplete Streets Death
- Rethinking the Suburban Bus Stop
- Making the Case for "Skinny" Streets
- Road Diet Handbook Available from ITE
- Update: Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grants
- Sidewalks, Good Public Transportation Lower Diabetes Risk
- Pedestrian Safety Webinar
- FHWA Issues Call for Research Ideas
- Bicycle Commuting Trends, 2000-2008
- Register for CNU Transportation Summit
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Three New Policies!
In the last month, we've marked three major milestones in complete streets policy adoption: the second-largest county in the United States announced a policy, and two communities became leaders in New Jersey and Alabama by adopting the first policies in their respective states. These three jurisdictions have brought our numbers to 110 total jurisdictions with a stated commitment to complete streets, with over 30 policies adopted so far this year.
Cook County, IL - On October 7, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger announced a complete streets policy via executive order. With this new policy, Cook County will give new focus to developing a comprehensive, integrated and connected transportation network for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation riders.
Montclair, NJ - Marking a first in the state, Montclair's Mayor and City Council unanimously voted in favor of a Complete Streets Policy (.pdf) at their October 6 meeting. The policy, first drafted by the Township Engineer, ensures that in new construction and reconstruction, travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, and motorized vehicles and their passengers shall be safely accommodated. Following a failed attempt to adopt complete streets hindered by fear of costs, the new policy mandates that costs for pedestrian, bicyclist, or transit accommodations that come to more than 5% of total project costs be funded by local tax dollars. Other communities with such initial concerns about costs have usually discovered them to be unfounded once they begin implementation; we hope Montclair will arrive at the same conclusion.
Fairhope, AL - In a first for Alabama, Fairhope City Council passed a resolution on October 12 to follow a complete streets policy in all future roadwork. In support of local advocacy organization Smart Coast, the National Center for Bicycling and Walking - a steering committee member of the National Complete Streets Coalition - will hold a series of meetings and events with local mayors, commissioners and council members throughout the Mobile Region. Read more about the groundbreaking policy in the Mobile Press Register.
New Jersey Groups Call for Statewide Policy
Pedestrian fatalities in New Jersey have increased 33 percent this year, prompting a group of New Jersey advocates - the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New Jersey Future, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, AARP New Jersey, Disability Rights New Jersey, and Environment NJ - to join together in calling for a statewide complete streets policy. A TSTC blog post illustrates the dangerous conditions caused by incomplete streets in the state. Their call gained attention from the Ashbury Park Press, which reported that Governor Corzine's office would look at a policy. An editorial in the New Jersey Star-Ledger lauded the effort, calling complete streets "a sound idea."
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Lexington, KY: Residents attended a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss how complete streets can make the city more "people-friendly." With strong support from Mayor Jim Newberry, the meeting is one of several ongoing discussions that will ultimately change transportation policy and design standards in Lexington. (Lexington Herald Leader)
- Hattiesburg, MS: A new non-profit comprised of community leaders, businesses, and passionate supporters - the Pinebelt Pathways Partnership - has set its goal on a more walkable, bikeable region. They hope to have Hattiesburg City Council adopt a complete streets policy before years end. (Hattiesburg American)
Visit our "Current Campaigns" page to see the growing number of Complete Streets campaigns across the country (and to add your own)!
Topeka Misses the Point
After levying a half-cent sales tax to fund road maintenance and improvements (including sidewalks), hope was high that this would provide opportunity to begin completing the streets in Topeka, Kansas. Yet, city officials have fallen prey to a common misconception about funding Complete Streets, declaring that the road repairs would be funded through the bond measure, but "Complete Streets elements" that added "extra costs" would not. National Complete Streets Coalition Executive Director Barbara McCann clears up the misconception in a recent blog post.
Federal Policy Update
The National Complete Streets Coalition was busy promoting complete streets on Capitol Hill this month. We kicked things off with our 100th Policy Reception on October 5th where we were joined by Coalition members, Congressional staff, representatives from US DOT, and complete streets supporters from around the country in celebrating the momentum and progress the complete streets movement has made in such a short time. While Chairman Oberstar was unable to attend the event in person, in prepared remarks he congratulated the Coalition on our accomplishments by stating "your efforts have proven that complete streets policies are popular and effective, and can work in urban, suburban, and rural settings across the nation" and he asked for complete streets supporters from around the country to talk to their Members of Congress about why a federal complete streets policy is important. Thanks again to American Planning Association and Representative Matsui for co-sponsoring the event and to our supporting partners HNTB, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Kittelson & Associates, and Gresham Smith and Partners.
We continued to build support for the Complete Streets Act of 2009 with the addition of several co-sponsors: Senator Bill Nelson [FL], Representative Rush Holt [NJ-12], and Representative Lois Capps [CA-23]. If you live in their districts be sure to thank them for their support. We are now up to 38 Representatives co-sponsoring H.R. 1443 and 9 Senators co-sponsoring S. 584. We expect more co-sponsors in the coming weeks as a result of two recent lobby days: we partnered with Transportation for America on their fly-in where health advocates from around the country came to DC to meet with their Congressional Delegation on the connection between health and transportation and asked their Senators and Representatives to support of the Complete Streets Act of 2009. Also, several of Smart Growth America's state and regional partners came to DC last week and included the Complete Streets Act in their list of priorities for legislation that promotes smart growth and livable communities. Tell your Senator or Representative to support the Complete Streets Act by visiting our action page today.
Coalition Welcomes New Partner, Members
We are pleased to welcome the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging to the National Complete Streets Steering Committee. Better known as 'N4A,' the association represents more than 600 Area Agencies on Aging, established through Congressional action in 1973 to respond to the needs of Americans 60 and over in every local community. N4A also represents the needs of 246 agencies that serve the needs of older American Indians, and Alaskan and Hawaiian natives (known as 'Title IV' programs). N4A is a leading voice on building a society that values and supports people as they age, and we look forward to working with them on Complete Streets!
We also welcome the American Heart Association to the Coalition as a supporting member. AHA is working to reduce coronary heart disease and stroke, and its Michigan Affiliate, Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan has already been active in the campaign for Complete Streets in the state. Welcome, AHA!
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., better known as VHB, is a new Silver Partner of the Coalition. This Massachusetts-based firm provides integrated transportation, land development, and environmental consulting services through 18 offices and 850 employees located throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida. VHB has been involved in development of several Complete Streets policies, including the award winning Massachusetts Project Development and Design Guide, and the new policy in Rockville, Maryland. We're really pleased to have this firm join the Complete Streets family!
Webinar: Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America
During this free webinar hosted by the National Center on Senior Transportation, AARP's Jana Lynott and NCST's Lucinda Shannon will discuss AARP's recent report Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America. They will review how complete streets policies provide an opportunity to increase safety and availability of travel options for older adults as well as policy and practice recommendations from the report. The webinar is November 4th from 1 to 2 pm Eastern Time.
Complete Streets on the Road
The Coalition's workshops, offered in partnership with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, are scheduled all over the country in coming weeks. Yesterday, our instructors offered a half-day Complete Streets session in Eureka, CA for local planners and engineers looking to build healthy, active communities. Next Tuesday evening, we will offer a free introductory presentation to the Red Wing, MN community; planners, engineers, and other decision makers will participate in a full-day workshop the following day. In early December, Dayton, OH will host a region-focused workshop. Want to bring a workshop to your community? Check out our workshops page for the details!
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Newspapers Focus on Travelers with Disabilities
The Minneapolis Star Tribune this week discussed the barriers deaf and blind Minnesotans face daily when simply traveling to work, to a friend's, or even to the bus stop across the street from home. The Chicago Tribune, introducing a recent report by the League of Illinois Bicyclists, highlights a street project that included a sidewalk that proved to be a "walk of life" for a resident in a wheelchair, who previously was unable to visit the park a few blocks from her home. Including these travelers in planning and design early in the process - as would happen under a complete streets policy - would help ensure all future transportation projects are not barriers to travel.
Livability in the Spotlight
As discussed in October 7's Weekly News blog post, transportation has a big role to play in creating livable communities. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was vocal, proclaiming Walk to School Day on October 7th represented a view into a more sustainable future. He also discussed what livability means to him during an interview with AARP Bulletin.
Complete Streets in Our Neighbor to the North
Recent transportation project discussions in Toronto have inspired the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation and the Toronto Cyclists Union to form a Complete Streets Campaign. First working to research the many successful local movements in the U.S., the Campaign has garnered media attention from several outlets. Transport Canada (our neighbors' equivalent of a national Department of Transportation) recently examined the potential of complete streets implementation in Canada, finding numerous benefits.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Around the Country
- Alameda, CA: Planning Board President Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft makes the case for a more bike-friendly Alameda, proposing a complete streets policy to ensure all users - bicyclists, pedestrians, public transportation riders, and drivers - are accommodated when building or reconfiguring roads. (SF Gate)
- Denver, CO: Eight city departments are collaborating to bring complete streets to Denver through the Living Streets Initiative. A recent Denver Post article explains the economic benefits of streets that designed and operated to accommodate everyone. (Denver Post)
- Chicago, IL: The League of Illinois Bicyclists released its audit of recent Chicago-area road projects, (In)Complete Streets (.pdf), this week. In looking for how pedestrians and bicyclists were accommodated in the projects, the League found that local governments do a better job than the state Department of Transportation - who has yet to implement a complete streets policy mandated by a 2007 law. (League of Illinois Bicyclists)
- Michigan: Complete Streets advocate Rory Neuner has a great write-up in this month's Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan newsletter (.pdf) detailing all the great strides taken across the state to ensure safe, livable streets for all. (Michigan Complete Streets Coalition)
- Mt. Pleasant, MI: After the City rejected a Michigan DOT design for a main route through town characterized as "a terror for pedestrians," the Michigan Morning Sun advocates building a complete street that looks beyond moving cars and into accommodating people - be they pedestrians, bicyclists, or drivers - safely. (Michigan Morning Sun)
- Minnesota: The Minnesota Department of Transportation posted a revision of its Complete Streets Feasibility Report on October 16. Public comment is due by November 9, and the final report will be released in December. (Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition)
- St. Louis, MO: Local blogger and Regional Director of Development at Washington University, Alex Ihnen, writes why a complete streets policy is key to improve the City's public transportation. "It's not enough to connect someone from one public transit stop to the next," he says. "Public transit must connect to its surroundings, to shopping, to work, to home." (NextStop STL)
- Dallas, TX: Cyclists convened on City Hall Plaza on Wednesday, October 7th to learn about a potential complete streets policy and how the City plans to create safer streets and link different modes of transportation. (Dallas Morning News)
- Charlottesville, VA: Following a pedestrian fatality in the City, local politicians have latched onto a complete streets approach to improve safety, as well as health and quality of life. (Charlottesville Daily Progress)
Incomplete Streets Death
Susana Ramirez, 55, tried to cross busy East Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas on October 13th when she was fatally struck by a car. The 7-lane road is lined with residences and numerous shops, but only has very narrow sidewalks that lack any buffer from the vehicular lanes and crosswalks are few and far between - the nearest crosswalk was over 400 yards from where she was hit.
Rethinking the Suburban Bus Stop
An excellent new resource comes to us by way of the Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA), a Transportation Management Association serving one of Southwestern Pennsylvania's fastest-growing suburban areas. ACTA conducted a study of various types of suburban bus stops and produced a detailed, colorful report with suggested new configurations for several types of stops (.pdf), from those serving busy roadways to those serving retail centers.
Making the Case for "Skinny" Streets
The Fall 2009 issue of Practicing Planner features a case study from Fresno, CA, where narrower streets were proposed to enhance walkability in a new development. When the proposed streets did not meet city standards for emergency and solid waste collection vehicle access, planners used a variety of research points as well as a field simulation technique - all detailed in the article - to overcome resistance to the "skinny" streets.
Road Diet Handbook Available from ITE
This new handbook is a comprehensive guide to road diets, discussing planning, analysis, design, and implementation. It includes guidelines for potential road diet site, design concepts, and lessons learned from several case studies.
Update: Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grants
Last month, we announced the availability of $650 million in grant money available to communities who want to promote system and environmental changes to increase physical activity. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership and America Bikes have prepared a list of sample pedestrian and bicycle activities (.pdf) that fit within the five categories of evidence-based interventions required as part of this CDC grant application. This is a great opportunity to develop a local complete streets approach, including hosting a Complete Streets Workshop!
Sidewalks, Good Public Transportation Lower Diabetes Risk
A new report in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that adults living in neighborhoods with more healthy resources - easily walkable with access to healthy food and good public transportation - were 38% less likely to develop diabetes than others.
New Funding Opportunity with the Health Impact Project
The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, is a national initiative promoting the use of health impact assessments (HIAs) as a decision-making tool for policymakers. HIAs are a flexible, data-driven approach that identifies the health consequences of new policies, and develops practical strategies to enhance their health benefits and minimize adverse effects. The project is now accepting applications for up to 15 HIA demonstrations at the local, state or tribal level. Grants will range from $25,000-$150,000 each.
Pedestrian Safety Webinar
On Monday November 9, the Federal Highway Administration is hosting a webinar on its crosswalk guidelines, Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations. Three presentations will discuss the guidelines and how practitioners have used them.
FHWA Issues Call for Research Ideas
The Federal Highway Administration's Bicycle and Pedestrian Team are seeking input and suggestions for research ideas with a health focus. Submit your short, succinct comments by December 3, 2009 under the "Bicycle/Pedestrian and Health" category on the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) feedback page.
Bicycle Commuting Trends, 2000-2008
Using newly released American Community Survey data, the League of American Bicyclists has analyzed the number of Americans who commute to work primarily by bicycle. The number is up 14 percent since 2007, and up 43 percent since the 2000 Census.
Register for CNU Transportation Summit
CNU's Transportation Summit 2009, to be held in Portland November 4-6, will build on last year's summit and expand your knowledge of the latest findings in sustainable transportation. Early registration ends today, October 22!
"The Complete Streets concept will help make our community more livable and sustainable. It will help us attract and retain a workforce that includes people who want to live in a community with a diverse set of transportation and recreational options."
- Lexington, KY Mayor Jim Newberry in a press release
"Older people deal with the effects of incomplete streets every day, and make up a disproportionate share of pedestrians killed by cars in New Jersey. The needs of seniors and other pedestrians must be taken into account when streets and highways are built and repaired."
- Janine Bauer, a volunteer transportation advocate for AARP New Jersey, in the Ashbury Park Press.