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.
- Mississippi on the Map - and on LaHood's Radar
- MORPC Breaks Ground with New Policy
- Spokane Moves Ahead
- Updates from the States
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Federal Policy Update
- Complete Streets Week Illustrates Demand for Safe Streets for All
- National Poll Shows Americans Want Transportation Choices
- Complete Streets Workshops Update
- Welcome to Our New Partners: Beckett & Raeder, Qk4
- Our Partners: Creating On-the-Ground Change
- People with Disabilities Rally Behind Complete Streets
- Streetscape and Complete Streets
- Decline in Children Walking and Bicycling to School Has Stabilized
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Incomplete Streets Death: James Swopes
- Complete Streets Best Practices Manual Available
- Planners Training Service on Complete Streets
- Online Conference on Pedestrian Access
- Healthy Community Design Expert Workshop Report
- Register for Pro Walk/Pro Bike!
- Photo Library from the Alliance for Biking and Walking
- Transportation Innovation Videos
- Livable and Sustainable Communities Websites
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Mississippi on the Map - and on LaHood's Radar
Tupelo and Hernando joined the growing number of communities establishing a healthier, safer future through complete streets. On April 6, both cities adopted complete streets policies with strong support and their mayors. Both Mayor Chip Johnson of Hernando and Mayor Reed of Tupelo see complete streets as an important piece in their efforts to provide more opportunities for physical activity and to encourage healthy living. The policies adopted by these pioneering Mississippi cities will be a model for developing livable, attractive, and healthy communities throughout the state and across the country - gaining attention from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
MORPC Breaks Ground with New Policy
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) approved its Complete Streets Policy this month. Every roadway project that receives MORPC-attributable federal funding will provide accommodations for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and other users of all ages and abilities on the same road. MORPC is the largest MPO to adopt this comprehensive complete streets approach to its projects. Read more about the policy on our blog.
Spokane Moves Ahead
Spokane City Council voted 5 to 2 to pass a resolution (.pdf) on April 5 authorizing the city to take the next steps in developing a complete streets policy. Audience testimony was overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, with Council members hearing about the importance of complete streets from teachers, nurses, environmental advocates, bicycle commuters, planning commission members, fourth generation city residents, and parents. In developing the policy - which will begin with a Complete Streets Workshop on April 29 - Spokane's specific needs will be a primary focus, as well as providing for flexibility.
Updates from the States
Last week, the Minnesota Complete Streets bills passed through the final two committees (Senate Finance and House Ways and Means) before they hit the floor of both houses for a full vote. The House will vote on their version of the bill today. Language differs between the House and Senate bills, so the bills may need to be reconciled in a conference committee. After final vote, Governor Pawlenty has three days to sign the bill. The Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition has organized a day of action for April 26, when they will deliver nearly 5,000 postcards from supporters across the state. Complete streets efforts continue to receive media coverage, including a recent commentary on Minnesota Public Radio.
The Vermont House Transportation Committee selected H.741, the Complete Streets bill, as one of its top three priorities for the legislative session. Eleven Representatives have already signed on to sponsor the bill. AARP Vermont is recruiting volunteers to share information about complete streets and the bill with their local communities and elected officials.
The House Transportation Committee passed the Complete Streets Resolution (HCR 67), introduced by Rep. Sutherland, with a 12-2 vote yesterday. A March 30 hearing on the resolution featured plenty of testimony in support of the bill, with representation from the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation, Great Rivers Greenway, American Heart Association, and disability advocacy organization Paraquad.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has presented its latest take on policy revisions needed to comply with the state's 2007 Complete Streets law. The proposed changes include revised local cost share ratios for sidewalks and bike lanes, exceptions procedures, and facility selection charts. The League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, as well as other stakeholders, continue to work with IDOT to ensure the best implementation of the law.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Portage, IN: The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's executive board tabled a proposed complete streets policy, previously amended and approved by the Transportation Policy Committee.
- Monroe, OH: The City's draft comprehensive plan (.pdf) recommends adopting a complete streets policy to increase connectivity, support community walkability, and to allow for more transportation choices.
- Albany, NY: Residents' vision for a network of complete streets will be included in Albany2030, the city's first Comprehensive Plan.
- Alexandria, VA: A subcommittee has drafted a complete streets ordinance (.pdf), as called for in the City's 2008 Transportation Master Plan. The 2010 Council Strategic Plan, expected to be adopted soon, is also supportive of complete streets policy.
- Superior, WI: A member of the City's Public Works Committee met with the area MPO about complete streets (.pdf) and will move forward with the development of a policy for the Committee's next meeting.
Federal Policy Update
Following the efforts of last month's Bike Summit and YMCA of the USA lobby day, we're proud to have Senator Blanche Lincoln [AR] as a cosponsor on the Complete Streets Act of 2009. On the House side, Representatives Pastor [AZ-4], Costello [IL-12], Delahunt [MA-10], Hall [NY-19], and Scott [VA-3] have joined as cosponsors, bringing our total number to 54. Thank you to all of the advocates and constituents who helped us reach this incredible milestone! Have your Members of Congress signed-on in support of this important bill yet? Ask them to support complete streets today! (If your representatives have already signed on, remember to send a thank you note!)
The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has started work on their version of the next transportation bill, using Representative Oberstar's draft Surface Transportation Authorization Act as a foundation. Of four hearings they held about the bill in March, the final one covered safety and transportation. Deb Hubsmith, of Safe Routes to School National Partnership, testified about the need to provide safe and healthy transportation options for children (.pdf), and Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari spoke about Secretary LaHood's recent policy statement on non-motorized transportation. Senator Udall (NM) asked about cost-effective ways that states can address a broad range of safety issues, and Hubmsith responded that complete streets policies are an effective and efficient way to achieve improvements in safety for all road users.
There is a lot of great news surrounding preventive health and transportation options. The recently-passed health care bill includes funding for preventive health initiatives, including projects and programs that will create healthier communities and encourage physical activity and more active transportation. The Recovery Act's Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program just awarded $372 million in grants to 44 communities to pursue prevention and wellness programs, including projects that will create more access to active transportation and recreation opportunity in communities. Finally, the CDC and a broad coalition of health, transportation, education, and other organizations are preparing to release a final draft of a National Physical Activity Plan on May 3.
Complete Streets Week Illustrates Demand for Safe Streets for All
This week is "Complete Streets Week" in New York State, as thousands of volunteers organized through AARP's Create the Good initiative take to the streets to conduct walkability audits. They are surveying streets and intersections in communities on Long Island, up through Albany, and west to Buffalo, looking at issues such as the presence of continuous sidewalks, properly marked crosswalks, and appropriate times for crossing. These New Yorkers are part of a surge in support for transportation choices across the U.S. Read more about "Complete Streets Week" on our blog.
National Poll Shows Americans Want Transportation Choices
American voters overwhelmingly support broader access to public transportation and safe walking and biking, according to a new national poll conducted for Transportation for America. Two-thirds (66%) say that they "would like more transportation options so they have the freedom to choose how to get where they need to go." Yet nearly three-quarters (73%) currently feel they "have no choice but to drive as much as" they do, and 57% would like to spend less time in the car.
Complete Streets Workshops Update
Our Complete Streets Workshops instructors - national experts trained in complete streets policy and engineering - are having a busy April! On April 7, we held a Workshop in Billings, MT, where community members, public health advocates, business leaders, and city staff and officials laid the foundation for complete streets. The Billings Gazette ran an article from Hillary Harris, director of Population Health Services at RiverStone Health, on the health benefits of complete streets and Yellowstone Public Radio took listeners inside the workshop and interviewed instructors Michael Moule and Roger Henderson.
Thursday, we will be in Bismarck, ND to help build the groundwork for agency staff, decision makers, and public health advocates to pursue a successful complete streets initiative in the city. Next week, we will be in Washington State to help previously mentioned Spokane develop its policy; in Tacoma to work with planners, engineers, and elected officials on implementing their complete streets policy and design guidance; and meet with several communities in northwest Washington about pursuing their own policy initiatives.
Welcome to Our New Partners: Beckett & Raeder, Qk4
Beckett & Raeder, Inc. (BRIA) joined as a Complete Streets Bronze Partner. BRIA is a multidisciplinary firm working in landscape architecture, planning, engineering, and environmental services. Based in Ann Arbor, MI and Toledo, OH, BRIA provides exceptional and innovative professional service to a variety of municipal governments, state and federal agencies, institution and private sector clients. They have won numerous awards for projects across the Midwest.
Qk4 is our newest Bronze Partner. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, Qk4 employs civil and structural engineers, planners, architects, landscape architects, environmental specialists, and right-of-way acquisition specialists. Their collaborative project management approach emphasizes teaming the most qualified professionals with our clients to ensure that all the technical needs of the project are successfully recognized and met.
Get involved with the National Complete Streets Coalition as a Partner organization or firm!
Our Partners: Creating On-the-Ground Change
Our Partners are helping communities across the country achieve on-the-ground change. Toole Design Group is providing technical assistance to a DC advocacy group to improve pedestrian conditions on Connecticut Avenue through a walkability audit. Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. is working with transportation planners, engineers, and project managers - especially those who must comply with Virginia's complete streets policy - to help guide them through policies, regulations, design standards, new technology and design treatments, and facility planning needs to provide appropriate accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians in a variety of contexts. Kittelson & Associates is out in the DC suburbs, studying how to provide better, safer pedestrian access to a transit station through measures such as better lighting, slower speeds, and improved intersections
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
People with Disabilities Rally Behind Complete Streets
As the Complete Streets movement grows, more are realizing the important benefits a complete streets policy can provide for those with disabilities. Such policies remove barriers to independent travel by considering the needs of all users at the outset of every transportation project. As the Disability Advocates of Kent County point out, this mindset helps solve "the last mile" problem - getting to and from fixed route transit stops. Other people with disabilities are also speaking out about the problem:
Streetscape and Complete Streets
Earlier this month, Coalition Steering Committee member American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) contributed a guest post to our blog discussing the importance of streetscaping, including the many benefits of safe, attractive, green - and complete! - streets. ASLA recently helped craft legislation that designates the fourth week of April "National Streetscaping Week" and encourages designing streetscapes which utilize sustainable design strategies and construction practices to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of neighborhoods and communities. Show your support for "National Streetscaping Week" today!
Decline in Children Walking and Bicycling to School Has Stabilized
New national travel data show that the decline in rates of walking and bicycling to school has stabilized. However, children are still overwhelmingly arriving at school in their parents' cars, a significant reversal from four decades ago. While long-term trends demonstrate a decline in walking and bicycling to school, preliminary analysis of the 2009 National Household Travel Survey reveals the percentage of 5 through 14-year olds walking and bicycling to school in the U.S. has remained stable at about 12% over the last 15 years. When measuring trips to school of one mile or less, a distance considered easily walkable and bikeable for most students, 38% of 5 to 14-year old students reported usually walking and bicycling to school in 2009.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Baldwin County, AL: Last week, the Baldwin County Planning Commission recommended a complete streets presentation be made to the City Council. (Mobile Press-Register)
- Miami, FL: Despite strong support from local bicyclists, a resurfacing project on Sunset Drive will not include safe bicycle accommodation. The South Florida Bicycle Coalition is asking the Florida DOT to comply with the state's 1984 complete streets law and has threatened legal action if the project moves forward without the required exception. In brighter news, FDOT announced that it will convene a Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council in June; the Council's formation is a major step in bringing stakeholders to the table and routinely integrating pedestrian and bicyclist needs in transportation projects. (Transit Miami, Rails to Trails)
- Savannah, GA: Savannah is exploring a complete streets approach on two road projects in its Paradise Park and Hudson Hill/West Savannah neighborhoods.
- Des Moines, IA: The City Traffic and Transportation Division hosted two "Lunch and Learn" sessions on complete streets last week to help residents and businesses better understand the complete streets concept and what the city is doing to implement its 2008 policy. (Des Moines Register)
- Fort Dodge, IA: State Senator Beall announced a likely state infrastructure grant to help the city fund complete streets with green infrastructure details in the city's core. (Fort Dodge Messenger)
- Iowa City, IA: The Moss Green Developer Corp., planning to develop land recently annexed into Iowa City, sees benefits of constructing complete streets and ensures any new road will exceed City's complete streets policy. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)
- Buffalo, NY: The latest designs for Niagara Street show the City's commitment to following its complete streets policy and instituting low-cost designs to improve safety and access for all users. (Buffalo Rising)
- Michigan: The Michigan Department of Community Health announced the winners of the first round of grants for communities to pursue complete streets ordinances. Detroit is one of the five to receive these funds this year. (M-Bike.org)
- Detroit, MI: The City has announced plans to install 30 miles of bike lanes this year, almost all through the low-cost method repainting lanes after necessary resurfacing work. A major greenway project tied to a residential rebirth in Midtown represents another way the Motor City is pushing ahead with complete streets and livable communities. (Detroit Free Press, M-Bike.org)
- Chattanooga, TN: A new focus on complete streets to provide more options to residents of region makes front-page news. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
- Seattle, WA: Columnist George Rowan discusses the many health benefits of walking, especially for older adults, as well as the difficulties they face and some ways to make walking easier and safer - including complete streets. (Seattle Medium)
- Milwaukee, WI: Rebuilding South Second Street using a complete streets approach as envisioned by local businesses and residents will move forward, and construction is expected to be completed by 2011. Last May, this community-supported design seemed unlikely due to state funding mechanisms that did not support all modes. (BizTimes Milwaukee, Urban Milwaukee)
Incomplete Streets Death: James Swopes
James Swopes, 47, was killed by an SUV while trying to cross the Esplanade in Chico, CA, on Monday evening, April 19. Despite significant commercial activity and the proximity of many homes, the five-lane road lacks marked crosswalks at the intersection where Swopes died.
Complete Streets Best Practices Manual Available
Drawing on lessons learned from 30 communities across the country, Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Best Practices provides insight into successful strategies and practices to create complete streets. The new Planners Advisory Service Report, a joint project of the American Planning Association and the National Complete Streets Coalition, discusses how to build support for complete streets, adopt policies, and integrate the policy into everyday practice. It sold out at the APA National Conference last week, but you can get your copy at APAPlanningBooks.com.
Planners Training Service on Complete Streets
The American Planning Association's Planners Training Service will offer a two-day, in-depth workshop on Complete Streets this June in Washington, DC. Instructors Barbara McCann and Walter Kulash will draw from the recently published Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices in providing the latest information on complete streets. Early registration ends May 2.
Online Conference on Pedestrian Access
Easter Seals Project ACTION will host an online conference "Building Livable Communities through Increased Pedestrian Access" from May 18 to May 20. Each day, a 90-minute webinars will focus on pedestrian access, how to make streets safer and more accessible, and how pedestrian access contributes to more livable communities. The conference is hosted in partnership with the National Center on Senior Transportation and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The registration deadline is May 11, so sign up today!
Healthy Community Design Expert Workshop Report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Healthy Communities Design Initiative released a new report on Healthy Community Design. The report is a product of a CDC workshop that convened experts from public health, architecture, planning, and other disciplines to discuss the role of community design in public health. The report features best practices, including a discussion of complete streets policy-adopter Decatur, GA, as well as research recommendations and next steps for CDC and other organizations to bring more attention to the connection between design and health.
Register for Pro Walk/Pro Bike!
Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2010 will be in Chattanooga, TN this September 13-17, and registration is now open! This year's conference theme is "Bringing Livable Communities and Regions to Scale," and sessions will cover a range of issues and practice. Early bird registration - through May 31 - offers the opportunity to save $50.
Photo Library from the Alliance for Biking and Walking
The Alliance for Biking and Walking unveiled its Bike/Walk Photo Library, packed with free, high-quality images to help grassroots advocates communicate their message. The photos were collected during the Alliance's 2009 Photo Contest and may be used by leaders of Alliance organizations, with appropriate credit given to the photographer.
Transportation Innovation Videos
Complete Streets Partner organization NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) created a new series of films highlighting bold projects in seven cities - including Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix and others - that make streets safer, more welcoming, and balanced among a wide variety of users and modes.
Livable and Sustainable Communities Websites
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently launched new Livability Initiative websites, providing information about the Department of Transportation's role in the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The sites include resources about livability and sustainable communities, and how both FHWA and FTA are working to support these new initiatives.
"We live on the edge of Eagan and Rosemount just a couple miles from Lebanon Hills Park and a new library. The sad part is we can't get to these places safely on foot or by bike. I'd like my kids to be active, but I'd rather start up my car and drive them than risk their safety along a 50-mile-per-hour road with no sidewalks or bike lanes."
- Jene Leiner, a mother of three young children speaking to the need for complete streets in Minnesota Monthly
"Sidewalks are more than just paths for moving people. Communities also benefit from sidewalks by the social connectedness; people run into each other, they see each other more and that whole social connectedness is part of the fabric of the communities."
- Pat Geraghty, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota in Public News Service
"We believe this policy is vital in making our communities more accessible to everyone, whether they are old, young, or disabled. It will improve the health of our residents and make more jobs and everyday destinations accessible by transit."
- Chester R. Jourdan, Jr., MORPC Executive Director in on the agency's new Complete Streets policy