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.
- Tennessee DOT Strengthens Policy
- MPOs Step Up in Fargo-Moorhead, Kansas City Regions
- Michigan Gets Six More Local Policies
- Complete Streets Policies Continue to Multiply
- Connecticut Makes Strides in Implementing Law
- New York City Receives Overall Excellence Award from U.S. EPA
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Federal Policy Update
- Help Us Seize the Moment in 2011: Consider Our New Individual Partner Giving Level
- Dinner with Dan Burden
- Partner Spotlight: MIG, Inc.
- Happy Anniversary Complete Streets!
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Incomplete Streets Death: Mark Martin
- Get a Taste of Our Complete Streets Workshops
- Webinar Series: Community Health and Transportation Planning
- Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy
- Walkable Communities Have Happier People
- New Report: Bridging the Gap in Bicycle Networks
- Save the Date for re:STREETS
- New Webpage on Accessible, Livable Communities
- Walking to School Could Lower Risk of Heart Disease Later
- Sign Up Today for the 2011 Active Living Research Conference
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Tennessee DOT Strengthens Policy
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely issued a newly updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy (.pdf) this month, a big step forward in routinely building and operating a multimodal transportation network across the state. The policy, effective on December 1, supersedes and improves upon a 2004 DOT. This policy now applies not only to TDOT and its contractors, but also to local governments using federal funds for their transportation projects. It includes a new provision that bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects that use federal funds will include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Statewide advocates represented by Bike Walk Tennessee provided specific feedback on how to improve the state’s policy.
MPOs Step Up in Fargo-Moorhead, Kansas City Regions
Two agencies responsible for coordinating regional planning efforts have adopted Complete Streets policies. Up along the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments (Metro COG) gave its final approval to a Complete Streets policy statement in late November. With its new policy statement, Metro COG will “plan and program public rights-of-way that fully integrate and balance the needs of all street users.” In addition to changes at the MPO-level, the policy is intended to be used locally as foundation for local policies and justifying review of local ordinances and codes to support Complete Streets. Metro COG worked closely with its member local units of government, key stakeholders at the two state DOTs, and the public in developing and completing the policy.
Several hundred miles away, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) of the Kansas City, Missouri region, incorporated Complete Streets into its Transportation Outlook 2040 plan that was adopted earlier this year. In its policy framework, the plan requires “transportation investments consider and include accommodations for all appropriate users, including bicycle, pedestrian and transit users” and sets the stage for the agency to work with local stakeholders to create a policy that will inform MARC’s planning and programming processes. Importantly, the process of developing Transportation Outlook 2040 also resulted in a new project solicitation and evaluation process. Among other criteria, the new process rewards points based on the number of transportation modes directly integrated into projects and how well the project promotes use of non-motorized travel, which should put more Complete Streets projects into the region’s transportation investment priorities.
Michigan Gets Six More Local Policies
Complete Streets supporters in the Mitten State have much to celebrate as the year winds down, with six new local policies on the books across the state. On November 23, the Dexter Village Council unanimously adopted an ordinance (.pdf) to ensure all planned, designed, and constructed transportation projects are complete streets – and that the Master Plan and Capital Improvement Plan will include, at minimum, accessible facilities for people traveling by foot or bike. On December 7, the Taylor City Council unanimously approved its own Complete Streets ordinance – the fifth community in the state to do so.
Four others adopted resolutions in the last month. Hamtramck, Michigan’s most internationally diverse city, won the unanimous approval of its Complete Streets resolution (.doc) in November. Thanks to the great work of Safe and Active Genesee County (SAGE), planners and engineers in Linden, a community south of Flint with a population of about 3,000 people, will now consider pedestrians and bicyclists (.doc) in their transportation projects. On December 2, the Village of Mackinaw City proclaimed its unanimous support for Complete Streets (.pdf) and the economic and health benefits that come from routinely planning and building complete streets. Last, but not least, Disability Network/Lakeshore shared the good news that the City of Allegan in West Michigan had unanimously adopted its own Complete Streets resolution (.doc) on December 13. Be sure to check in with the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition to hear about all the latest Complete Streets news from the state.
Complete Streets Policies Continue to Multiply
Across the country, more and more communities are turning to Complete Streets policies in guiding their future transportation investments. In addition to the policies noted above, the Coalition has learned of a few additional local policies that were adopted recently. Charlottesville, Virginia Mayor Dave Norris took to his blog to announce the City Council’s adoption of a Complete Streets Resolution on November 15. The resolution calls for all street projects undertaken by the city to be “designed and executed in a balanced, responsible and equitable way to accommodate and encourage travel by bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and their passengers, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.” On November 10, the City of Columbus, Indiana approved the Thoroughfare Plan Element (.pdf) of the citywide master plan, establishing a Complete Streets approach through it guiding principles of context-sensitive streets that “provide equality for various transportation options.” Moving forward, each street in Columbus will be “designed and maintained with thoughtful consideration of each likely user,” including people on bikes, in passenger vehicles, and on foot and buses, emergency vehicles, and commercial delivery trucks.
The National Complete Streets Coalition has collected a total of 211 policies adopted, with nearly 70 of those from the last twelve months. As always, keep an eye on our Atlas, and let us know if we’ve missed something you think we should count as a Complete Streets policy!
On to Implementation
The Coalition is turning more of our attention to ensuring effective implementation of Complete Streets policies, so the promise of a policy results in changes to practice and projects. We'll be including more of these stories in future newsletters – and watch for our new implementation tool in the coming months. Please consider a year-end gift to support this work!
Connecticut Makes Strides in Implementing Law
Outgoing Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced several significant changes to policies and practices at the Department of Transportation that will help the state achieve a more balanced, inclusive, multimodal transportation network as envisioned by the state’s 2009 Complete Streets law. Among the five immediate changes are a new program allowing the DOT to respond quickly to minor bicycle and pedestrian issues; a policy that sidewalks will be part of normal roadway design and that their funding is treated like any other road element; revisions to the project design manual to better include the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians; the opening of additional funding streams to bicycle and pedestrian projects; and improved collaboration with the state Department of Environmental Protection. The DOT is also looking to improve bicycle parking at train stations expand its road restriping program to create narrower travel lanes that slow traffic and improve safety for all users.
New York City Receives Overall Excellence Award from U.S. EPA
New York City’s Department of Transportation, with the Departments of Health, Design and Construction, and City Planning, took home the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Overall Excellence in Smart Growth” award for four major city initiatives, including the city’s 2009 Street Design Manual. The Street Design Manual is one of NYC’s policies that direct the inclusion of all users in transportation projects and has resulted in numerous successful projects across the city. For the second year in a row, the EPA’s Smart Growth Awards have recognized the importance of comprehensive implementation of Complete Streets policies. Last year, Charlotte, North Carolina’s Urban Street Design Guidelines took home the award in the “Policies and Regulations” category.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Michigan: The Michigan Department of Transportation has officially named the stakeholders who will participate on the statewide Complete Streets Advisory Council, a group required by this year’s Complete Streets law to help provide guidance to MDOT and local road agencies on the implementation of Complete Streets policies and practices. (Michigan Municipal League)
- Hennepin County, MN: The County Board has established a Complete Streets Task Force to oversee implementation of its 2009 policy. The group will review the county’s Capital Improvement Program and other long-range investment plans, recommend effective use of current county, regional, state, and federal funding, and develop intra-agency strategies to ensure continuous networks of complete streets.
- St. Paul, MN: Having received a federal TIGER II grant, St. Paul is launching a three-year Complete Streets planning process, conducting a citywide survey of its streets and creating new design guidelines to better accommodate and balance all users in future street projects. (Prevention Minnesota)
- Washington, DC: The District Department of Transportation is changing a number of traffic signals so that pedestrians have a few extra seconds to cross before cars are allowed to turn, giving those on foot greater visibility to drivers. Such inexpensive and relatively easy changes are key to operationalizing the District’s Complete Streets policy. (d.ish)
Federal Policy Update
As expected, Representative John Mica (R-FL) has officially been named Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the committee that will lead the efforts for a new federal transportation bill in the coming year. While prospects for a full reauthorization seem to be dimming, a lengthy extension of current law is also in doubt. This indicates transportation will be an ongoing discussion in the new Congress. The House of Representatives recently passed an extension through the end of 2011, but the Senate is not going along.
Please tell your Member of Congress that Complete Streets is important to you, especially if you have a new Congress member. Senators and Representatives pay attention to what their constituents want, so please send a note to let them know that you want safe streets for everyone, whether walking, riding bikes, taking public transportation, or driving!
Help Us Seize the Moment in 2011: Consider Our New Individual Partner Giving Level
In just the few short years since coining the term Complete Streets, we have shifted the way millions of Americans think about how streets should serve the people using them. Thanks to our efforts, almost 200 communities, states and localities now have complete streets policies in place. Your help has made a difference, but our acceleration won’t last long unless our friends and supporters help us create lasting change with additional investment in the movement. We are counting on all of our supporters to reach our goal of raising an additional $20,000 this year.
To recognize those individuals with a strong commitment to Complete Streets, we’ve added an additional Individual Partner level to compliment our corporate Partners program. Individual Partners will receive a Partner thank-you packet that includes a copy of Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices (a $60 value), as well as a reflective decal and other goodies. Partners will also be eligible to attend our Dinner with Dan (see below).
We hope that you will make your tax-deductible gift – of any amount – today.
Dinner with Dan Burden
The Coalition is pleased to announce a special Partners-only event next month: dinner with Dan Burden, the internationally recognized authority on walkable communities, livability, sustainability and Smart Growth. New Coalition Partners will be offered seats at this intimate dinner with Dan on January 25 at Washington, DC’s New Heights restaurant. See our website for more information about the event.
Partner Spotlight: MIG, Inc.
MIG, Inc., a Coalition Silver Partner, has focused on planning, designing, and sustaining environments that support human development since its founding in 1981. Their team of over 100 professionals has assisted public agencies throughout the nation in projects that enhance community livability, support revitalization, and connect people with places. MIG is a primary partner in a National Endowment for the Arts funded project dubbed re:Streets, which aims to create a new model streets design manual (see notice below). As with all their projects, this one will embrace inclusivity and encourage community and stakeholder interaction.
Get involved with the National Complete Streets Coalition by joining us as a Partner organization or firm. Join today!
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Happy Anniversary Complete Streets!
On December 3, 2003, Barbara McCann wrote the memo that launched a movement. She was reporting back to the Board of Directors of America Bikes, the national non-profit that unites bicycling interests behind a federal agenda, on a new term to mean including people of all ages, abilities, and all modes of transportation in everyday transportation planning: “complete streets.” The following seven years witnessed the official birth of the National Complete Streets Coalition and the rapid expansion of the Complete Streets movement. Read up on our history and all of our successes so far. And please consider becoming an official member of the Coalition today.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Steamboat Springs, CO: The Steamboat Springs City Council recently discussed Complete Streets and a formal ordinance could be introduced as early as next month. (Steamboat Today)
- Fort Wayne, IN: The editorial board of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette wrote of their strong support for building more inclusive streets across the state, especially in more rural areas. Complete Streets planning, they say, is a wise fiscal move as well.
- Minnesota: The Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition has been assisting several communities in the northern part of the state in moving toward local Complete Streets policies. A coalition of local public health advocates in St. Cloud created a video to explain the Complete Streets concept. (Wahpeton/Breckenridge Daily News, Bemidji Pioneer)
- Pipestone, MN: Pipestone Active Living Partnership recently held a Laying the Foundation for Complete Streets workshop, introducing local citizens to the basics of Complete Streets. Attendees explored the flexibility of Complete Street design, as well as what completing Pipestone’s Main Street would entail. Pipestone Active Living is now drafting a potential Complete Streets policy for elected officials. (Pipestone County Star)
- Essex County, NY: In rural upstate New York, a Complete Streets Coalition is working with County Highway Supervisors to create Complete Streets policies that reflect rural needs and enhance streets safety for all. (Mobilizing the Region)
- Cleveland, OH: Due to the work of local advocacy groups, the Ohio Department of Transportation has vowed to invest several million on bike and pedestrian infrastructure on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge and the surrounding street network to ensure safe access to communities on both sides of the bridge. (GreenCityBlueLake)
Incomplete Streets Death: Mark Martin
Mark Martin was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street in Hancock, Maryland. The 73-year-old was crossing a state highway to get to his mailbox near the intersection of Western Pike and Casper Road in the western Maryland community. The rural highway lacks safe space for pedestrians to walk.
Get a Taste of Our Complete Streets Workshops
Michael Ronkin the national expert in Complete Streets who helped design our Complete Streets Workshop program was caught on tape giving an introductory presentation to planners and engineers in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He covers the basics of Complete Streets and answers some audience questions in this video available to watch on YouTube.
Webinar Series: Community Health and Transportation Planning
A new, four-part webinar series in 2011 sponsored by the American Public Health Association will cover the many ways transportation systems impact public health. With speakers from across the nation, the series will cover state and local programs that consider health and equity in transportation planning, the health benefits of active transportation, health impact assessment tools, and innovative programs to prevent roadway deaths and injuries. Registering for any session is good for the entire series.
Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy
Smart Growth America and the Natural Resources Defense Council evaluated how well states are doing addressing climate change through their current state-level transportation policies. The resulting report found that policies in almost all 50 states either fail to curb carbon emission rates or, in some cases, actually increase emissions. The report included adoption of Complete Streets policies as one of the steps states could take to improve air quality and meet mobility needs.
Walkable Communities Have Happier People
A new study reveals that residents of walkable communities are more likely to be socially engaged and trusting than people in less walkable areas. They also reported being in good health and happy more often than their counterparts.
New Report: Bridging the Gap in Bicycle Networks
Bridges are critical parts of communities’ transportation networks, and making sure they safely accommodate people on foot or on bike allows for expanded mobility and transportation choice. A new report from the League of American Bicyclists shows how to successfully advocate for “complete” bridges (.pdf), including lessons learned from several campaigns.
Save the Date for re:STREETS
Interested professionals from a wide range of disciplines should save July 21-23 to help develop a comprehensive manual of design tools (.pdf) for building streets that promote healthy urban living, social interaction and business, as well as the movement of people and goods, while regenerating the ecosystem. Conference applications will be available January.
New Webpage on Accessible, Livable Communities
Easter Seals PROJECT ACTION has developed a new webpage loaded with resources for planning livable communities while taking into consideration the accessible transportation needs of people of all abilities. The page features a guide for accessible paths to bus stops and transit facilities, a toolkit to assess bus stop accessibility and safety, a fact sheet on accessible transportation in rural areas, and more.
Walking to School Could Lower Risk of Heart Disease Later
Simply walking to school, rather than getting a ride, has been shown to reduce children’s stress reactivity – changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress. Such changes are associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children and the build-up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances in adult’s arteries. Slowing down reactivity through physical exercise, the study concludes, thus provides an important potential health benefit.
Sign Up Today for the 2011 Active Living Research Conference
Online registration is now open for the eighth annual Active Living Research conference, the leading forum for investigators from over 20 disciplines to share findings and learn about the latest thinking, methods, and research on policy and environmental strategies to increase physical activity. This year's conference theme is Partnerships for Progress in Active Living: From Research to Action. Sign up by January 14 to receive the early bird registration discount.
“In a period when every tax dollar must be carefully spent, state policymakers would be wise to require planning that considers more than vehicles in designing roads.”
– Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Editorial Board
“Years ago I would have thought [a Complete Streets policy] is more fluff than Atlas Township needs, but I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in communities that I would consider progressive that have a lot of this implemented. From the safety aspect to the outdoor aspect, I think this is really for everyone’s benefit. Even in our community, doing small things like this can really make a big difference.”
– Trustee Scott Statson, Atlas Township, MI
“The bottom line is the more we can accommodate different modes, the more efficient our transportation is. People want choices in how they travel and they want those choices to be safe. Complete streets offer opportunities to travel in different ways.”
– Janet Hruby, city engineer, Steamboat Springs, CO
Thank you to our Partners: