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.
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
- Over Two Hundred Complete Streets Policies Adopted
- Complete Streets Now Law in Puerto Rico
- Charlotte Implements USDG for Private Developers
- New Transportation Vision Adopted in Dayton, Ohio Region
- Resolution Gets Unanimous Approval in Red Wing
- Four More Policies Adopted
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Policies in the Pipeline
- Federal Policy Update
- Coalition, Partners Meet with Secretary LaHood
- Upcoming Webinar on the State of the Practice in Complete Streets
- Welcome T.Y. Lin International!
- KTU+A Is New Coalition Bronze Partner
- Thanks to All of Our Partners who “Seized the Moment” in December!
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the County
- Incomplete Streets Death: Francisco Santiesteban
- Add Job Creation to the Many Benefits of Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure
- High Demand for Livable Communities Shown in CDC Survey, Especially Among People of Color
- Millenials Want Walkable Communities
- Smart Growth Tour: Big City, Suburbs, Small Towns, Old and New
- Public Transportation Riders Saved Even More in 2010
- Debunking Myths About Road-Building
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Over Two Hundred Complete Streets Policies Adopted
The Complete Streets movement is starting off the new year right: over 200 jurisdictions formally committed to Complete Streets before the ball dropped on New Year's Eve. This amazing milestone comes only 14 months after our 100th Policy Celebration, showing the success of the National Complete Streets Coalition members, partners, and allies in communicating the possibilities of accessible, multimodal, equitable, healthier - just plain better - transportation systems.
Complete Streets Now Law in Puerto Rico
Governor Luis Fortuno signed a new law (.pdf) in December establishing Complete Streets as the guiding policy for all construction, design, reconstruction, and remodeling of public roads. The law, passed unanimously in the Puerto Rican House and Senate, also establishes a statewide committee to guide implementation of the policy, recommending changes to state rules and regulations and creating guidelines for the state and municipalities. Representative Jose Rivera-Guerra and Senator Roberto Arango-Vinent introduced and championed Complete Streets in their respective houses, driven by concerns about safety on rural roads and the need to improve public health. The support of Arango-Vinent, the Majority Speaker of the Senate, was fundamental in getting the bill passed in record time. AARP Puerto Rico and a host of key players on across the island were instrumental in generating significant public support and will help guide implementation.
Charlotte Implements USDG for Private Developers
In a late December vote, the Charlotte City Council officially codified the city's award-winning Urban Street Design Guidelines (USDG). The USDG, adopted in 2007, guide the planning and design of Charlotte's streets in a multimodal, context-sensitive framework to create networks of Complete Streets. The approved changes to the relevant chapters of the City Code, including the Subdivision Ordinance (.pdf) and the Zoning Ordinance (.pdf), now direct private developers to apply the USDG in their projects. This expands the application of the USDG Complete Streets approach to nearly every transportation project in the city. The amendments were subject to extensive public and stakeholder review, undergoing three major revisions before their adoption last month. Among many things, the new codes will shorten the maximum length of street blocks for certain types of developments and change how buildings are set back from streets and other structures. Changes were also made to the Charlotte Land Development Standards Manual (.pdf) to provide USDG-compliant standard drawings and templates to use in designing streets. These changes come on the heels of a voter-approved $157 million bond for use in transportation projects, showing public support for the Complete Streets work being done by the Charlotte Department of Transportation.
New Transportation Vision Adopted in Dayton, Ohio Region
A regional Complete Streets policy (.pdf) was adopted by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission earlier this month on a 27-8 vote. Representing the Dayton, Ohio area, the MVRPC worked with stakeholders to develop a flexible policy appropriate for urban, suburban, and rural contexts. Going forward, all projects requesting Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) federal funds controlled by MVRPC need to comply with the policy. "There are a variety of ways people need to and want to use our streets," said Bob Steinbach, the commission's director of regional initiatives. He continued, "When there is a project that comes before the MVRPC for ... funding, that's the time to sit back and consider how can we make this street more accessible to all users." In arguing for the policy's adoption, Charlie Shoemaker, director of Five Rivers MetroParks, noted that the metropolitan planning organizations in Columbus and Cleveland have already adopted Complete Streets policies and MVRPC should similarly "be positioned for the future."
Resolution Gets Unanimous Approval in Red Wing
On January 10, the Red Wing, Minnesota City Council unanimously adopted a Complete Streets policy (.pdf). The new resolution sets Complete Streets as the policy for the city and follows two years of education and outreach by Live Healthy Red Wing, including hosting a Complete Streets Policy Development Workshop. Developed in part to provide residents with healthy transportation options such as walking and biking, the Red Wing policy also got a significant boost from its potential attract new tourists and businesses. Days before the policy's adoption, Live Healthy Red Wing wrote to the Red Wing Republican, sharing the benefits of Complete Streets and urging Council's adoption.
Four More Policies Adopted
Houghton, a town of approximately 7,000 on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, will now be building Complete Streets, thanks to a comprehensive ordinance (.pdf) adopted in late December.
The City Council of New Hope, Minnesota unanimously adopted a resolution (.pdf) this month authorizing the Citizens Advisory Commission and city staff to draft a Complete Streets policy and implementation plan.
In a unanimous vote, the Helena, Montana City Commission adopted a Complete Streets resolution on December 20. Commissioner Matt Elsaesser supported the policy, saying, "It's good for the city to look at everything it can do to invest in better transportation." In June, the City Manager will recommend a process to review Helena's streets and establish priorities in accordance with Complete Streets.
The Town Council of Middletown, Rhode Island approved a resolution (.pdf) to encourage the use of Complete Streets concepts in the planning and redevelopment of town streets.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Columbus, OH: In its latest Complete Streets newsletter (.pdf), the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Agency reports several new tools available for member localities to use, new engineering-focused fact sheets on the way, and the availability of MORPC staff to give presentations on Complete Streets to local councils.
- Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced nearly $25 million for "Smart Transportation" projects across the state, many of which use a Complete Streets approach as in the DOT's own policy and Smart Transportation Guidebook.
Policies in the Pipeline
- Michigan: Both Lansing Township and Utica are looking to develop and adopt Complete Streets policies in the near future. (Lansing State Journal, Advisor & Source Newspapers)
- Oxford, MS: City Planner Tim Akers is drafting a Complete Streets policy for future consideration by elected officials. (Oxford Eagle)
- Vermont: In partnership with over 40 organizations around the state, AARP Vermont is leading a campaign to pass Complete Streets legislation this year. Representatives Mollie Burke and Jim Masland are sponsoring the pending bill.
Federal Policy Update
With the surface transportation bill extended under current funding levels until March 4, 2011, all eyes turned to the new House of Representative rules passed on the first day of the 112th Congress and what they mean for transportation funding. The new rules open the transportation bill to the variable appropriations process each year, rather than deferring to the multi-year funding levels set in the authorization bill, as has been done since 1995. Additionally, programs that are not authorized may not use Highway Trust Fund monies. Included in these programs: the popular TIGER grants, which are funding many Complete Streets-related projects.
Coalition, Partners Meet with Secretary LaHood
National Complete Streets Coalition Executive Director Barbara McCann participated in a meeting between America Bikes and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss bicycling and walking needs. While the Secretary expressed the administration's support for riding bikes and for Complete Streets, he emphasized the need for advocates to let their Members of Congress know that funding for bicycling and walking is important at home. We appreciate the Secretary's support and look forward to working with the administration as they prepare their transportation funding proposal.
Upcoming Webinar on the State of the Practice in Complete Streets
On Wednesday, February 16, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) will be hosting a webinar on the latest in Complete Streets policy and implementation. Speakers Mark Cole, of recognized Complete Streets leader Charlotte, North Carolina's Department of Transportation, and Stefanie Seskin, of the National Complete Streets Coalition, will share information on adopting the best policies and changing the process so all users are included in all transportation projects. The webinar, held from 3:00 to 4:00 pm ET, is just $75 per site; for APBP members, the cost is $50/site.
Welcome T.Y. Lin International!
T.Y. Lin International (TYLI) continues their commitment to Complete Streets by joining the Coalition as a Silver Partner. Their recent notable projects include the award-winning design of the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge in San Diego, California; the City of Chicago's Bike 2015 Plan, which plans to grow the network of on-street bikes and shared lanes in the city to over 140 miles; and the Erie Canal Aqueduct Master Plan. TYLI's Mobility Planning and Management Director, Chwen Siripocanont affirmed the firm's passion for this burgeoning area of multi-modal planning and design: "We are witnessing a growing movement in programs such as Complete Streets that address our communities' critical mobility needs and T.Y. Lin International is proud to be a part of that movement as a Silver Partner of the Complete Streets Coalition."
KTU+A Is New Coalition Bronze Partner
KTU+A Planning + Landscape Architecture of San Diego, California has joined the National Complete Streets Coalition as a Bronze Partner. A significant portion of the firm's work involves bikeway, pedestrian, active transportation, ADA transition plans, and streetscape plans. According to planning principal Mike Singleton, "Complete Streets is what we do. It simply made sense to take advantage of what we can learn from the Coalition to continue to improve our projects, especially keeping up with best practices; similar to why we're also Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals sponsors, and League of American Bicyclists members, and why we support local pedestrian and bicycle advocacy groups. We really want to improve our auto-centric environment." The firm was recently designated a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business for its efforts in encouraging employees to get to work other than by motor vehicle.
Thanks to All of Our Partners who "Seized the Moment" in December!
We had a record month in growing our Coalition, and extend our gratitude to all who joined the Coalition or renewed their memberships in the last month. We look forward to working with each new Partner on making our nation safer, healthier, and more accessible and equitable. We'll be profiling them in upcoming newsletters. Miss out on last month's membership drive? It's never a bad time to join: check our website to learn more.
Ryan Sndyer and Associates
Alta Planning and Design (renewing)
Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, Inc.
Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the County
- Miami, FL: Miami Herald columnist Daniel Shoer Roth takes the state Department of Transportation to task for "putting speed above safety" on a recent project on Brickell Avenue. Despite growing demand for a more livable street with additional safety improvements for people traveling by foot, bicycle, or public transportation, the DOT made only small concessions. Roth points out that in a district with fewer residents with political influence, such concessions would be even more difficult to come by.
- Lawrence, KS: Local mag Blue Sky Green Earth (.pdf) highlights how a Complete Streets policy can benefit the community. Lawrence hosted a Laying the Foundation for Complete Streets workshop last year, identified by the article as the first step in securing a policy.
- Baltimore County, MD: A recently introduced bill (.pdf) will create a new bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee for the county, and charges them with, among other tasks, developing a countywide Complete Streets policy.
- Detroit, MI: John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press gives a Motor City-centric spin on the state's new Complete Streets law, and how it will help reinvent the city.
- Charleston, SC: Tom Bradford, of local nonprofit Charleston Moves, submitted the case for a new, multimodal direction at the state Department of Transportation to the Charleston Post and Courier. Bradford called on new Governor Nikki Hailey to choose DOT leadership that will "vigorously push" for more complete streets and improved public transportation.
- Seattle, WA: A number of organizations, including the Downtown Seattle Association and Great city, are calling on the City Council to provide more mode-neutral local funds for transportation projects.
- La Crosse, WI: Residents Erica Black and Cindy Kartman penned letters to the La Crosse Tribune urging the La Crosse County Board and La Crosse Common Council to adopt Complete Streets policies so that everyone can have the choice to walk and bicycle - and so they can do it safely.
Incomplete Streets Death - Francisco Santiesteban
Francisco Santiesteban, 82, was killed this month while crossing Zaragosa Road on foot in El Paso, Texas. Known as an avid walker, Santiesteban often collected trinkets found while strolling through his neighborhood. Though he was in a crosswalk when struck, the wide, busy road is fed by numerous residential and commercial developments. The city has plans to install traffic lights in the area to increase safety.
Add Job Creation to the Many Benefits of Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure
New research from the Policy Economy Research Institute reveals that pedestrian and bicycle projects, including repairing footways and painting bike lanes, can create nearly twice as many jobs per dollar spent than typical road projects (.pdf). In a case study of Baltimore, the report finds that for every $1 million spent, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects were shown to create eleven to fourteen jobs, while "road infrastructure projects" only created seven jobs for every $1 million spent. This is because bicycle and pedestrian projects are more labor intensive, so a greater portion of money spent is spent paying workers than for materials. Typical road projects spend a greater portion on materials.
High Demand for Livable Communities Shown in CDC Survey, Especially Among People of Color
According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, most adults rate neighborhood features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and lighting as "moderately" or "very" important to them. In fact, nearly two-thirds said they would be willing to take civic action to improve those features. Notably, people of color not only placed greater importance on these street features, they also stated they were more willing to take action to improve their streets.
Millenials Want Walkable Communities
Presenters at the recent National Association of Home Builders conference focused on the fact that the 80 million people comprising Generation Y do not want their parent's homes in the suburbs. Instead, they prefer smaller homes in neighborhoods where they can walk or take public transportation to their destinations. One survey found that about 1/3 are willing to pay more for housing that allows them to use their feet for most transportation.
Smart Growth Tour: Big City, Suburbs, Small Towns, Old and New
From January 31 to February 2, join walkability experts Dan Burden and Paul Zykofsky for an action-packed 3-day tour that will take you from downtown Charlotte and its historic classic neighborhoods to surrounding suburbs, converted mill towns and villages, to the mountain City of Asheville. Each stop will be an opportunity to learn how a wide range of Smart Growth strategies are being implemented in communities of all sizes and shapes in this vibrant region. The tour happens just before this year's New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and promises to be a ton of fun. Register soon - seats are running out!
Public Transportation Riders Saved Even More in 2010
According to December 2010's Transit Savings Report from the American Public Transportation Association, individuals who ride public transportation rather than driving saved, on average, $9,581 last year. These numbers represent an increase in savings of more than $400 over 2009 , mostly due to climbing gas prices. The report ranks top cities by how much transit riders can save.
Debunking Myths About Road-Building
A new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group sets the record straight on a number of myths around federal transportation projects. Among the chief findings is that, contrary to popular belief, roads do not pay for themselves: only half the cost of road construction and maintenance is covered by funds from gasoline taxes today. Since World War II, road construction costs have outpaced funds raised through the gas tax and other fees by $600 billion dollars - money that came out of general government funds.
"At best, complete streets are an affirmation that cities are meant to serve all users and residents, not just the motorists who speed through every day on their way to somewhere else."
- John Gallagher, columnist for the Detroit Free Press
"Red Wing is more than a drive-by town. We're a destination — a place where people love to work, play, and visit. Complete Streets will help make us a stronger, safer, healthier community, and that means an economically sound city that will thrive in the future."
- Live Healthy Red Wing
Thank you to our Partners: