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.
- State Law in Michigan!
- Louisiana Adopts New Policy
- Two Michigan Communities Adopt Policies
- Three New Policies in New Jersey
- Resolution in South Carolina Capital
- New Yorkers Still Waiting on Assembly Action
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Federal Policy Update
- Federal Highway Mag Features Complete Streets
- Coalition Seizes the Moment
- APTA Studies How Public Transportation Affects Health
- Partner Work in Knoxville Highlighted
- New Bronze Partner: Brown & Mitchell, Inc.
- Now Hiring: Strategic Partnership Manager
- Minnesota On the Road to Implementation
- A Focus on Equity
- Complete Streets Work in All Communities
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Serious Injury on Incomplete Street: Brennan Williams
- Report: Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design
- Walk Score Launches TransitScore and Commute Reports
- An Equity Guide to Building Sustainable Communities
- Field Test Results of MMLOS
- Transportation and Land Use Toolkit
- Report: Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
- Pedestrian/Bicyclist Research Project Announced
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center's Video Library
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
State Law in Michigan!
On July 28, the Michigan Senate unanimously approved Complete Streets legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Granholm four days later. Under this new law, Public Act 135, the Michigan Department of Transportation is required to develop and adopt a Complete Streets policy as defined by the law within two years. Development of policies for use by municipalities and counties is also required. Importantly, the law establishes a Complete Streets Advisory Council, with representatives from many stakeholder groups, to educate, oversee, and report on implementation of policies in the DOT and across the state. A companion bill was also signed into law, which will encourage a multi-modal focus in local master plans. Congratulations to the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition, who worked overtime in the last few months in support of statewide legislation.
Louisiana Adopts New Policy
In mid-July, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development adopted a Complete Streets policy (.pdf). The new policy aims to "create a comprehensive, integrated, connected transportation network for Louisiana that balances access, mobility, health and safety needs of motorists, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, which includes users of wheelchairs and mobility aids." All projects using state or federal funding will be subject to the policy, with five defined exceptions. Last year, a legislation-created Complete Streets Work Group, with members from Louisiana AARP, the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and others, crafted this policy for the DOTD's consideration. Its adoption is yet another great success for advocates, who successfully lobbied amendments to state statutes to make streets safer for bicyclists.
Two Michigan Communities Adopt Policies
Policy action in Michigan didn't stop with the new state law. On August 9, two communities stepped up with their own Complete Streets resolutions. In Novi, a suburb of Detroit, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution (.pdf) directing City staff to develop a set of standards and ordinances to implement a Complete Streets approach. Building on two years of education and advocacy, the Sault Ste. Marie City Council adopted their own resolution, making them the first community in the Upper Peninsula to commit to a Complete Streets approach.
Three New Policies in New Jersey
In the last month, three more communities have joined the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Township of Montclair in adopting Complete Streets policies. On July 19, West Windsor was the second locality to adopt a policy. Resolution 175 (.pdf) requires new construction and reconstruction of roads undertaken by the Township be designed and constructed as complete streets, except where pedestrians and bicyclists are prohibited by law and on streets not designated as transit routes. A few weeks later, Monmouth County became the first county in the state to adopt a policy (.pdf). And, in approving Resolution 10-195 (.pdf) on August 9, the Borough of Red Bank became the first community in Monmouth County to adopt a Complete Streets policy. Both of these policies are modeled on the state's policy. Regional and local action is important in New Jersey, where the state DOT, though influential, controls only 12% of roadways. These policies help create connected, complete networks of streets. NJDOT recognizes this need in its own policy, encouraging regions and localities applying for Local Aid from NJDOT to adopt their own Complete Streets policies.
Resolution in South Carolina Capital
In late July, the Columbia, South Carolina City Council unanimously approved Resolution 2010-054. The resolution has been in the works for several years, with tireless support from nonprofit Palmetto Cycling Coalition. City staff has a year to come back to Council with detailed regulations to make Complete Streets integral in everyday transportation work.
New Yorkers Still Waiting on Assembly Action
Though the State Senate overwhelming passed a strong Complete Streets bill in June, the Assembly's companion bill has yet to move out of committee. With time winding down in this legislative session, advocates are asking all New Yorkers to urge their Assembly members to pass their bill. Across the state, newspapers are reporting on the bills, especially their potential for improving safety on the roadways. The Albany Times-Union describes how a number of incomplete streets in the region led to recent pedestrian deaths.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Prattville, AL: Road projects slated to be constructed this autumn will be designed in accordance with the City's April 2010 Complete Streets policy. (Montgomery Advertiser)
- New Haven, CT: The City's Complete Streets Design Manual, the development of which was mandated by a fall 2008 order from the Board of Alders, was unveiled in late July. The City Services and Environmental Policy Committee gave its approval of the document and referred it to the full Board of Alders for approval. Final vote is expected next month. (New Haven Independent)
- Delaware: Statewide advocacy group Bike Delaware reports back from a recent meeting on the state Department of Transportation's Complete Streets policy, the development of which was mandated last year by Governor Markell. DelDOT has hired a consultant to help identify additional opportunities for implementation of the policy.
- Detroit, MI: The Department of Health & Wellness Promotion, with funding from the federal recovery bill, has created an interdisciplinary workgroup and is pushing forward with a citywide policy.
- Saline, MI: The City of Saline is holding a public meeting on August 23 to discuss development of a Complete Streets ordinance.
- Buffalo, NY: A blog post from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign describes the successes and challenges of implementing Buffalo's Complete Streets ordinance. While major projects are taking all users into account, work is underway to coordinate other documents, procedures, and education opportunities bring them in line with Complete Streets principles.
- Columbus, OH: The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) released its first Complete Streets Newsletter (.pdf), which reports on progress made in developing a regional Complete Streets toolkit, as well as other news relevant to Complete Streets efforts in central Ohio. This edition focuses on the development of a regional tool library of equipment that can be used by member jurisdictions in local projects or studies.
- Greenville, SC: The City, in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, recently undertook several projects to make its streets safer and more accessible for everyone, including implementation of road diets, new ADA-compliant curb ramps, and additional landscaping. The City adopted a Complete Streets resolution in 2008.
Federal Policy Update
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced the latest grant recipients of the Transportation, Community, and System Preservation program. The 16 projects, totaling $3.5 million in federal aid, will make walking, bicycling, taking public transportation, and driving easier. Most of the projects will help create more complete streets - from new sidewalks and traffic calming measures in Bonanza, Oregon and bike lanes in Lakeland, Tennessee to a new nonmotorized plan for the Cheyenne, Wyoming region and a the creation of a Complete Street Design Manual for Dallas, Texas.
It's August, and that means that Members of Congress are home in their districts. They will use this time to learn more about their constituents' concerns and priorities, providing a perfect opportunity for you to express the need for a federal complete streets policy and ask them to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act of 2009 (S 587/HR 1443). We have resources available on our website to help.
Federal Highway Mag Features Complete Streets
Public Roads, the bimonthly magazine of the Federal Highway Administration, features Complete Streets policies in its latest edition. The article is an excellent overview of what Complete Streets means, from federal law and regulations to the roles of state Departments of Transportation, regional planning organizations, and local governments in improving the accessibility of the nation's transportation system for all users. It addresses incorporating public transportation into the process and how Complete Streets relates to Safe Routes to School and Context-Sensitive Solutions.
Coalition Seizes the Moment
Given the astounding success of the National Complete Streets Coalition in promoting Complete Streets, we know that now is the time to "Seize the Moment" and expand our efforts. We're looking ahead with a three-year push (.pdf) to make Complete Streets a reality nationwide. To make a difference and bring complete streets to even more communities around America, we need even more Partners and donors. If you are not yet a partner, please consider signing up today. And look out for more information about the Seize the Moment campaign coming your way in September.
APTA Studies How Public Transportation Affects Health
Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits, from the American Public Transportation Association, finds that people who live near public transportation have longer, healthier lives. The report, which aggregates the findings of several recent studies, shows that communities with high quality public transportation see fewer road fatalities than more sprawling, auto-dependent communities. Such communities also experience improved air quality, physical fitness, and mental health.
Partner Work in Knoxville Highlighted
The July 2010 edition of the APWA Reporter, the official magazine of the American Public Works Association, features an article from Complete Streets Partner firm Gresham, Smith, and Partners. The article discusses the firm's work to and includes key lessons learned in building consensus around Complete Streets and looking for opportunities in all projects to create better environments for all users.
New Bronze Partner: Brown & Mitchell, Inc.
The National Complete Streets Coalition is pleased to welcome our newest Bronze Partner, Brown & Mitchell, Inc. An engineering firm based in the Mississippi Guld Coast, BMI specializes in civil engineering and environmental consulting services. They have over 40 years of experience in the study and design of public and private water, sewer, and storm drainage projects; road and highway improvements; site development; and beach erosion/beach renourishment projects.
Get involved with the National Complete Streets Coalition by joining us as a Partner organization or firm!
Now Hiring: Strategic Partnership Manager
The National Complete Streets Coalition seeks an experienced candidate to manage our relationships with Coalition partners, advance our federal policy goals, and oversee our new project to help measure the effectiveness of Complete Streets policy implementation. This is a full-time job opportunity features a great deal of responsibility and direct collaboration with a diverse national organizations. Click here for more details.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Minnesota On the Road to Implementation
Both the advocacy community and the Minnesota Department of Transportation have set a brisk pace on the road to implementing the state's Complete Streets law. The Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition has published toolkits for local advocates and for local elected officials and city staff, providing important information about Complete Streets, the new state law, and what communities can do next. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is working through its implementation plan and hosted its first Complete Streets advisory group meeting. Read more about the exciting progress in Minnesota on our blog!
A Focus on Equity
A lively conversation is underway on how transportation policy affects the health of low income and minority children - and what can be done about it. Completing the streets, with a focus on the most vulnerable road users, has an important role to play in ensuring all children have access to safe streets and active transportation options. Streets that are inviting for all users are streets that are safer for all users - not just by lowering and even eliminating traffic-related injuries and crashes but also by creating cared-for spaces that deter criminal activities. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation hosted an online forum for people to share their thoughts on improving the built environment can reverse childhood obesity; the forum has closed, but you can view the conversation.
Complete Streets Work in All Communities
We've seen a spate of Complete Streets policies adopted in smaller towns and rural areas lately. Rural towns and counties have unique challenges and opportunities, but benefit from Complete Streets policies just like their more urban counterparts. Complete Streets provide quality access to jobs, health care, shops, and schools that rural residents deserve, while also achieving greater economic, environmental, and public health benefits for the community as a whole. Read more about how Complete Streets help reinforce strong, livable rural towns and counties on our blog.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
Serious Injury on Incomplete Street: Brennan Williams
- Jefferson County, AL: Robyn Hyden of the Alabama Poverty Project's "Alabama Possible" initiative blogged about a recent event with walkability expert Mark Fenton that revealed the need for complete streets.
- Lihu'e, HI: Proponents of a major development recently obtained approval from the Kaua'l County Council to re-design their project's streets to better accommodate people on foot and bicycle. (The Garden Island)
- Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee heard from statewide advocacy group PA Walks & Bikes last month about the need for complete streets and additional Safe Routes to School funding.
On Sunday, August 8, Brennan Williams was headed to church in Elyria, Ohio when he was hit and seriously injured by a car. The poor conditions of sidewalks in his neighborhood forced the 39-year-old wheelchair-user to ride in the street. The crash threw him from his wheelchair, causing him to suffer a concussion and a mild stroke and requiring a two-day stay in the hospital.
Report: Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design
On the heels of numerous national discussions of the inextricable connection between the built environment and public health, the National Center for Bicycling & Walking has issued the second edition of its 2002 report, Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design. This implementation guide is an extensive tool for all who seek to create livable communities that facilitate active transportation.
Walk Score Launches TransitScore and Commute Reports
The folks behind Walk Score, the popular online tool that calculates a neighborhood's walkability based on nearby amenities, launched several new products to help consumers understand their transportation options. On Monday, they unveiled Transit Score, custom commute reports, and a home and transportation costs calculator - empowering anyone to quickly understand the proximity of public transportation, their commuting options, and associated costs.
An Equity Guide to Building Sustainable Communities
In response to the availability of $150 million in funding through the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants program, PolicyLink has created this guide to help applicants submit competitive, equity-focused proposals with the goal of transforming low-income neighborhoods into communities of opportunity. Applications for this grant are due on August 23.
Field Test Results of MMLOS
Results from the field testing of a multimodal level of service method (MMLOS), described in NCHRP Report 616, are in. These tests were conducted by public agencies in 10 metropolitan areas across the United States. Based on the results of these field tests several revisions were made.
Transportation and Land Use Toolkit
Montana's Department of Transportation has recently released a "Planning for Bicyclists, Pedestrians, and Transit Riders" toolkit, detailing how planners in Montana and across the US can better plan for all modes. The toolkit includes information from across the web that covers the entire process of building a multimodal transportation network - from tips for running educational, public workshops to a guide to selecting multimodal streets based on their roles in their communities.
Report: Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
A new report from the International City/County Management Association focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities.
Pedestrian/Bicyclist Research Project Announced
In 2011, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program will embark on a study (.pdf) to identify and analyze institutional barriers to improving physical conditions for pedestrians along existing roadways. Special attention will be paid to bicyclists, snow maintenance, and ADA requirements.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center's Video Library
The PBIC Video Library is a searchable collection of free videos relating to walking and bicycling. Visitors are welcome to download and use the videos and submit their own.
"I am confident we can rise to the challenge of implementing the new Complete Streets law - in letter and spirit - and emerge a stronger organization, and ultimately, a better state."
- Kirk T. Steudle, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation
"I'm a baby boomer, so I'm going to be approaching that time when I might not be able to drive. I want to make sure that there is accessibility if I'm walking or taking public transit. We have to look at the whole transportation system."
- Michigan State Representative Pam Byrnes
"No piece of legislation is a magic fix, it just gives folks something to hold them accountable to. The passage of any bill is a moment to say 'excellent work.' After we take that moment of celebration, we go back and have four or five things to do."
- David Bulkowski, Executive Director, Disability Advocates of Kent County
Thank you to our Partners: