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.
- Minnesota First State to Adopt Complete Streets Law in 2010
- New York Moves Ahead
- Michigan Introduces Bills
- Missouri House Passes Resolution
- Independence, Minnesota Resolves to Complete the Streets
- Ordinance Introduced in St. Louis, Missouri
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- U.S. DOT Makes Complete Streets Policy Adoption a Performance Measure
- Federal Policy Update
- Best Practices Chapter Available Online
- Major National Health initiatives Support Complete Streets Policies
- League of American Bicyclists Celebrates Bike Month, Announces Bike Friendly Communities
- Partner Spotlight: Fehr & Peers
- Complete and Connected Streets
- Healthy Coast Week
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Incomplete Streets Death: Donald Stirk
- Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population
- Presentations Discuss Complete Streets
- State Fact Sheets Available
- Why We Need Bicycle and Pedestrian Staff
- Health Equity and Prevention Primer
- Including Children with Disabilities in Safe Routes to School
- Dallas Builds a Better Street
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Minnesota First State to Adopt Complete Streets Law in 2010
Complete Streets has become law in Minnesota! On May 15, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Omnibus Transportation Bill (SF 2540), which included complete streets language (.pdf) passed by both houses late last month. The bill passed by wide margins: 58-3 in the Senate and 109-25 in the House. Though the Governor has traditionally vetoed omnibus transportation bills in the past, chief authors Senator Steve Murphy and Representative Frank Hornstein had significant public support through the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition and the Minnesota Department of Transportation and were able to successfully lobby the Governor to sign the bill. Check our blog later this week for a more detailed story from the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition!
Minnesotans have been rallying around complete streets for over a year, and actions over the last month reinforced that support. On April 26, a Complete Streets Rally and Parade outside the Capitol Building delivered 5,000 postcards to Governor Pawlenty, asking him to sign complete streets legislation. Tony Kellen, President of the Minnesota Public Transit Association, explained why complete streets should be law in a letter to the Saint Cloud Times and State Senator Steve Murphy wrote his hometown paper to say "Minnesota needs, deserves Complete Streets." The National Complete Streets Coalition has provided significant support to the Minnesota effort, including a number of workshops and regular communication with both the state DOT and Complete Streets advocates. Congratulations, Minnesota!
New York Moves Ahead
Fueled by the success of Complete Streets Week, state legislators and advocates have put on the pressure for adoption of a complete streets law. On April 30, the Senate Transportation Committee passed Complete Streets bill (S5711-a). The bill will add strength and depth the Pedestrian and Bicycle Policy (.pdf) recently adopted by the New York State Department of Transportation. Acting Transportation Commissioner Stanley Gee spoke in favor of the bill as well, stating that he "strongly supports Complete Streets." State Senator Martin Dilan, chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation said, "I'm going to make sure this bill passes." A broad coalition, including organizations like AARP, Empire State Future, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and the American Cancer Society, support the bill and are working with legislators to couple the complete streets bill with one protecting open space, farmland and water supplies by discouraging sprawling, automobile-based development.
Michigan Introduces Bills
A package of Complete Streets bills (HB 6151, HB 6152) was introduced in the Michigan House on May 6. HB 6151 requires the state Department of Transportation, local road agencies, and municipalities that receive funding through the state to adopt Complete Streets policies. It also creates a state-level Complete Streets Advisory Council to assist with implementation of those policies. The companion bill, HB 6152, updates Michigan's planning laws to require Complete Streets in municipal master plans. The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition worked closely with Representative Jon Switalski and House Transportation Chair Pam Byrnes in developing the bills. The introduction of the bills is part of a growing movement across the state for complete streets. The Michigan Municipal League's 2010 conference, which drew representatives from agencies across the state, featured a complete streets session. On Thursday, the Disability Network/Lakeshore is hosting a Complete Streets Panel to discuss the benefits, implementation process, and lessons learned with leaders and citizens of Western Michigan. Because complete streets benefit not only people with disabilities, but an entire region, the Disability Network has partnered with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, the City of Holland, and others to motivate policy adoption in Allegan and Ottawa Counties.
Missouri House Passes Resolution
With only an hour left in this year's legislative session, the Missouri House voted to pass HCR 67. The resolution gives a comprehensive overview of the benefits of complete streets policies and urges all levels of government to adopt Complete Streets policies. Representative Mike Sutherland, sponsor of the Resolution, has championed Complete Streets in the Missouri General Assembly for several years and worked closely with the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation to build support in the legislature and across the state. Late last month, the Kansas City Star editorial board called upon the House to pass the resolution, saying it made "economic, health, and transportation" sense and would improve the quality of life across the state. The resolution was reported to the Senate for action.
Independence, Minnesota Resolves to Complete the Streets
On April 13, the City of Independence, just outside the Twin Cities, adopted a Complete Streets resolution (.pdf). The resolution directs staff to develop and implement a formal Complete Streets policy to achieve a "safe, efficient, balanced, and environmentally sound City transportation system for people of all ages and abilities." It also urges cities, counties, and the state to work together in making Complete Streets a reality throughout Minnesota.
Ordinance Introduced in St. Louis, Missouri
Alderman Shane Cohn introduced a Complete Streets bill on April 30. The bill, which has already garnered support from many Aldermen, defines Complete Streets and directs the City to incorporate complete streets into transportation projects, plans, manuals, rules, regulations, and programs. If adopted, the bill will compliment efforts on the regional scale, where the local Metropolitan Planning Organization has been pursuing routine accommodation of all users for several years. The nonprofit Trailnet has led the charge for a Complete Streets policy in St. Louis and helped two other communities in the region adopt policies in 2008.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Windsor, CA: City staff are proposing to incorporate Complete Streets (.pdf) into the town's Street Design Guidelines, Street Standards, and General Plan for City Council approval later this year. Their action was inspired by a conference presentation on complete streets and state law mandating updates to the General Plan include complete streets.
- Delaware: Advocacy group Bike Delaware reports on progress made in the year since Governor Markell signed his Complete Streets Executive Order, including anecdotal evidence of increased biking facilities, interest from municipalities in following the state's lead, and the expectation of a full-fledged policy in place at the DOT next month.
- Baltimore, MD: A Complete Streets ordinance, introduced in December has been approved by the city Departments of Transportation and Planning and continues to move ahead.
- Vermont: H. 741 (.pdf), a Complete Streets bill, failed to pass the House Transportation Committee this session. It is likely to be re-introduced next year, following continued education and outreach from its supporters.
U.S. DOT Makes Complete Streets Policy Adoption a Performance Measure
The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued its draft Strategic Plan, laying out the Department's priorities and the ways it will measure its own success. The draft names safety as the Department's number one priority and makes one measure of its success an increase in state and local Complete Streets policies. The draft says: "Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries can be reduced through "complete streets" policies... A FHWA safety review found that designing the street with these users in mind-sidewalks, raised medians, turning access controls, better bus stop placement, better lighting, traffic calming measures, and treatments for disabled travelers-improves pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety." This presents a fantastic opportunity to work with the U.S. DOT to increase policy adoption.
The draft includes many other innovative strategies for creating sustainable and livable communities, but has come under fire from those with an interest in a narrow focus on congestion relief.[link to innovation briefs - I have it]. The U.S. DOT is inviting comments on the plan by June 15th, and the Coalition is formulating comments; one of our comments will be to note how the benefits of Complete Streets extend to other areas named as a priority by the DOT.
Federal Policy Update
The Complete Streets bills in the House and Senate have gained new co-sponsors, most notably Senator Al Franken [MN], who signed on within a week of the bill's final passage in his own state. On the House side, Representatives Phil Hare [IL-17] became the 55th cosponsor in the House! Our online tool makes it easy to send a quick thank you note to your representatives for signing on to the bills; it also allows you to ask your Members to sign on if they haven't already.
Best Practices Chapter Available Online
A central strategy of the Complete Streets movement has been to learn from local success. We are proud to share a publication that takes this strategy to its highest level: Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices, a joint project of the staff of the National Complete Streets Coalition and the American Planning Association. The report is based on thirty case studies of states, cities, counties, and MPOs that have adopted and are implementing Complete Streets policies. Read more about the report on our blog, and get a sneak peak by downloading Chapter Five: Making the Transition (.pdf), which we have posted to our website. You can purchase the full report from the American Planning Association, and please let us know what you think of it.
Major National Health initiatives Support Complete Streets Policies
In the last month, three new national initiatives strongly supportive of Complete Streets policies were announced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention became one of the first agencies to weigh in on the federal transportation reauthorization - and transportation choice is front and center in their recommendations. Almost all of their key recommendations relate to the adoption and implementation of Complete Streets policies. The National Physical Activity Plan, which debuted a few days later, proposes a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives to enable all Americans to be physically active. It recommends adoption of Complete Streets policies at the national, state, county, and local levels. Just last week, White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released a new report and action plan to end childhood obesity in a generation and directly calls for a federal Complete Streets policy.
League of American Bicyclists Celebrates Bike Month, Announces Bike Friendly Communities
May is Bike Month, and communities across the country are sponsoring events. As part of this month's events, the League announced 16 new Bicycle Friendly Communities and five renewing Communities. A number of the new communities, including Rochester, MN, Franklin, PA, Lansing, MI, and Spokane, WA adopted Complete Streets policies in the last year. An updated ranking of "Bicycle Friendly States" was released yesterday.
Partner Spotlight: Fehr & Peers
Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants, a Silver partner of the Coalition, is demonstrating its commitment to advancing complete streets with innovative techniques that include multimodal level of service (MMLOS) and greenhouse gas analysis tools. Through the Institute of Transportation Engineers' (ITE) Pedestrian and Bicycle Council and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), continuing research will focus on whether MMLOS would be effective for evaluating complete streets, context-sensitive design alternatives, and smart growth from the perspective of all users of the street. Learn more about upcoming MMLOS workshops and offer your opinion on MMLOS.
Fehr & Peers also invites you to experience CoolConnections, a firm-wide initiative established to provide a source of information and a forum for discussion on integrated transportation and land use strategies that deliver sustainability of climate, energy, and public health. For the latest on federal and state transportation and climate change policy, including innovative solutions and tools developed by Fehr & Peers, visit CoolConnections.org.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Complete and Connected Streets
Every community with a Complete Streets policy quickly finds out that complete streets is about far more than striping a few bikes lanes. Many communities are working to make routes more direct and varied by increasing street connectivity and eliminating network gaps for non-motorized travelers. NRDC's Kaid Benfield has a couple of good blog posts about the importance of this issue, just in time for the Congress for the New Urbanism's annual meeting in Atlanta, which includes a focus on street networks. We've also just released a new Complete Streets fact sheet on the topic!
Healthy Coast Week
Several members of the National Complete Streets Coalition, including AARP, the National Center for Biking and Walking, and Transportation for America, teamed up with advocacy group
Smart Coast for "Healthy Coast Week." The Week's activities in Mobile, AL were part of the Healthy Coast Connections Project, which promotes Complete Streets throughout the region as a way to encourage people to be more active. The Project has spurred adoption of several Complete Streets policies in the region. Highlights from the week included a Smart Walk to School, seminars on transportation planning and policy, and a community bike ride. A Pedestrian Safety Summit featured Transportation for America's David Goldberg, who spoke about the Dangerous by Design report and how designing streets for all users can make them safer for everyone. Charlene Lee, Smart Coast program director, said "For many years, we've designed for one user group - the car. We need to design for multiple user groups. Alabama is the most dangerous state for cycling and has the highest level of obesity. We're interested in making walkability an option."
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Middletown, CT: City planners and advocates are looking to adopt a complete streets policy as one of the steps toward being named a Bicycle Friendly Community. If they adopt a policy, they would be second city in the state to do so. (Middletown Press)
- Lee County, FL: Advocacy organization BikeWalkLee continues to push for a strong statewide commitment to complete streets, sending letters to Governor Crist and Transportation Secretary Kopelousos.
- Des Moines, IA: Despite short commutes by car, Des Moines continues to promote choices in transportation through complete streets and increased public transportation. (Des Moines Register)
- Dubuque, IA: The City's plans to build complete streets in the redevelopment of the Millwork District has drawn national attention from PBS's Blueprint America series. The project was a big winner in the federal TIGER grant program. (Dubuque Telegraph Herald)
- Fergus Falls, MN: As part of a statewide program to encourage healthy living through changes in built environment and improved access to healthy food, a local group will push for Complete Streets. (Fergus Falls Journal)
- Omaha, NE: Mayors on both sides of the Missouri River called for increased cycling, and Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle called for development of a complete streets policy. The region will host a Complete Streets Workshop in June. (KETV Omaha)
- Buffalo, NY: Buffalo City Council members have proposed creating a Complete Streets coordinator position to help implement the city's 2008 ordinance. (Buffalo Rising)
- Kingson, NY: The Kingston Daily Freeman editorial board throws their support behind local complete streets efforts, saying transportation planners need to hear the voices of pedestrians and bicyclists "over the roar of traffic."
- New York City, NY: The number of people taking to their bikes has grown immensely in the City, though a recent debate over just how big that growth actually is highlights the urgent need for improved data collection in communities of all sizes. (New York Times)
- West Windsor, NJ: A local advocacy group has asked Mayor Hseuh for changes to the town's Master Plan that would establish a complete streets policy for the city.
- Pennsylvania: After an extensive, multi-year public campaign to include a bike-ped pathway in the bridge's design, the Schudder Falls Bridge connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey will include accommodations for people on foot and on bike. The bridge is a key transportation connection between the two states, both of which have complete streets policies. (The Times of Trenton)
- Bringham City, UT: The Bicycle Task Force has asked County commissioners to develop a complete streets policy. (Tremont Leader)
- Spokane, WA: A Spokesman-Review editorial calls for a "big picture approach" to transportation network, tying together everyday operations and city-wide plans (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
Incomplete Streets Death: Donald Stirk
Donald Stirk was killed on May 16 while trying to cross U.S. 1 in Ormond Beach, FL, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Stirk, 66, was returning from a concert at Destination Daytona, a sprawling Harley-Davidson-themed complex, when a fellow concert-goer struck him. Despite the presence of hotels and other commercial establishments across the road from Destination Daytona, there are no safe crossings for pedestrians.
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. Registration closes May 26!
Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population
This report, from the American Public Transportation Association, highlights the need for increased operational funding to address the growing population of older adults. The increased funds would better incorporate the travel needs of older people in route planning and stop placement and improve coordination with other agencies. It would also allow for more accessible buses and trains.
Presentations Discuss Complete Streets
Two recent presentations highlighted the need for complete streets and walkable communities. In New York City, the Municipal Art Society's Complete Streets Forum welcomed advocates and transportation professionals to discuss the "city streets of today and tomorrow," including examples of best practices in creating more complete streets; an audio archive is available. In Toronto, presentations made at the highly successful Complete Streets Forum are online - including one from Executive Director Barbara McCann and several from U.S. cities implementing complete streets. Meanwhile, Dan Burden recently spoke in Vancouver about the urgent need for more walkable communities.
State Fact Sheets Available
America Bikes has released two new sets of state fact sheets. The first draws on the 2010 Benchmarking Report, highlighting important statistics about bicycling and walking, state by state, while the second shares success stories, including communities in the state that have adopted Complete Streets policies. You can find these new state fact sheets on the America Bikes resources page.
Why We Need Bicycle and Pedestrian Staff
A new report (.pdf) from the League of American Bicyclists highlights the important role of bicycle and pedestrian staff in community planning. The report notes a strong correlation between the number of bicycle and pedestrian staffers and bicycling friendly outcomes such as Bicycle Friendly Community status and high bike commuter levels.
Health Equity and Prevention Primer
The Prevention Institute as developed a free, web-based training series for public health practitioners and advocates interested in policy advocacy and community change to achieve health equity. Seven brief, interactive presentations along with selected publications, tools, and other resources focused on health equity are available, including one module on the importance of local policy.
Including Children with Disabilities in Safe Routes to School
Next Tuesday, May 25, the National Center for Safe Routes to School and America Walks will co-host a webinar titled "Ensuring Your Safe Routes to School Program Includes Children with Disabilities." This program will discuss how to make sure a safe routes program is inclusive, providing advice on reaching out to students with disabilities and working with students, their parents, and special education professionals. The webinar is next Tuesday, so sign up today!
Dallas Builds a Better Street
Dallas-area group Go Oak Cliff recently held a "Build a Better Block" event that transformed a block of an arterial street into a more complete street, demonstrating how complete streets can work locally. The project drew lots of people to the area and created a safe, fun environment for Oak Cliff residents of all ages. See how they did it, and learn more about the goals of the project, on Go Oak Cliff's website.
"Our streets are so much an essential part of quality of life. And everyone, whether they are biking, walking, in a wheelchair, in a vehicle or on transit will find this to be a model for a major street, a complete street."
- Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Ralph Becker, on the North Temple Viaduct reconstruction project
"What we need to do is get away from the idea that somehow one form of transportation is in conflict with another or that one choice of transportation makes some kind of value statement that is superior to another… What we need to do is develop an infrastructure and a culture where we respect and accommodate one another's transportation choices."
- Madison, WI Mayor Dave Cieslewicz
"It is no longer an exception for people to live into their 80s. It is the rule. And these folks still want to go out and do things like go out to the supermarket. We've got to make sure the streets are safe for them."
- Council Member James Vacca, chair New York City Council Transportation Committee
"The light changes before you even get across the street. What are you supposed to do with that?"
- Harriet Miller, 78, Bronx resident