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
- Pipestone, MN Adopts Complete Streets Resolution
- Safer, Livable Roads Coming to North Hempstead, NY
- Five More Resolutions Across Michigan
- Buffalo, NY Presses Ahead with Implementation
- Updates from the States
- Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Federal Policy Update
- Coalition Holds 2011 Strategy Meeting
- Complete Streets at TRB Annual Meeting
- Complete Streets Workshops Now Available Through EPA
- Coalition Welcomes New Steering Committee Member, Ryan Snyder Associates
- …And Two New Bronze Partners!
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
- Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School Heralded as LaHood Celebrates one year of Let’s Move!
- Active Aging Award Bestowed on Charlotte, NC
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Incomplete Streets Death: Bobbie McGuire
- Teleconference: Planning for the Accessibility of Livable and Sustainable Communities
- Safety in Numbers in Minneapolis
- South Carolina Complete Streets Resources
- Street Smart Walk Score
- Portland’s Investments in Bicycling: Cost-Effective
- Cycle Tracks Research
- Conference on Performance Measures for Transportation and Livability
- New Roundabouts Resources
- Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
Pipestone, MN Adopts Complete Streets Resolution
Pipestone became the latest Minnesota community to commit to Complete Streets with the adoption of its Complete Streets resolution on Monday, February 7. The community of just over 4,000 in southwestern Minnesota will now consider the needs of people on bicycles, walking, and hopping on public transportation at the early stages of transportation planning and design. The Pipestone Active Living Partnership, with support from Mayor Laurie Ness, was pivotal in the policy’s creation and adoption. In November, the Partnership brought together community leaders, elected officials, and other decision makers for a daylong Complete Streets Workshop led by John La Plante and Dom Nozzi, helping to establish the underpinnings of the new policy.
Safer, Livable Roads Coming to North Hempstead, NY
North Hempstead put policy muscle behind a vow for safer streets on January 25 by adopting a Complete Streets policy (.pdf). In new transportation projects, the town will look to accommodate all users - "all motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, movers of commercial goods, users of public transportation, and seniors" - during the planning, construction, reconstruction, retrofit, maintenance, alteration, or repair of streets, bridges, or other portions of the transportation network. Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilman Tom Dwyer championed the policy. Upon its adoption, Dwyer said, "A movement has grown throughout the country for local municipalities to build safer, more livable roads. I am proud to say that North Hempstead will do just that in the months and years ahead."
Five More Resolutions Across Michigan
Michigan communities continue to take their first steps toward safer, more accessible transportation options by adopting Complete Streets policies by the bucketful. The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition reports on five resolutions adopted in communities across the state – and all with populations under 15,000. Clawson City Council resolved its support of Complete Streets in December. Atlas Township unanimously adopted its resolution in mid-January, followed quickly by resolutions adopted in Oxford, a village of 3,500, and Escanaba, in the Upper Peninsula. Most recently, Woodhaven’s City Council unanimously adopted a resolution as well. With so many municipalities officially supporting the concept of Complete Streets, we hope to see lots of inspiring changes to transportation planning and on-the-ground facilities in Michigan’s near future.
Buffalo, NY Presses Ahead with Implementation
In late January, the Buffalo City Council resolved to create a Complete Streets Coordinator position for the city. Sponsored by Council Member Demone A. Smith, the resolution directs the position to be shared by the City's Office of Strategic Planning and Department of Public Works. The Coordinator would guide implementation of Buffalo's 2008 Complete Streets policy, report on progress to the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Board, and serve as a liaison between stakeholders. In creating this position, Buffalo is taking important action to ensure its policy moves from paper to practice. It also joins the ranks of leading Complete Streets municipalities - those that are translating the political and community will created during the policy’s development into fundamental changes in how transportation projects are implemented at every stage. Congratulations Buffalo – we look forward to great things!
Updates from the States
- Indiana: HB 1354, which would have directed the Indiana Department of Transportation to adopt Complete Streets guidelines for its projects and design manual, did not receive a hearing in the House Roads and Transportation committee, making it unlikely for any further action this session.
- Missouri: HCR 23, introduced by Rep. Sally Faith, got a committee hearing on February 17. Many organizations testified in support of the resolution, which urges the adoption of Complete Streets policies at the local, metropolitan, regional, state, and national levels. The Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation, the American Heart Association, Great Rivers Greenway District, the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association, ParaQuad, and Jim Schultz, Mayor Pro Tem of the city of Independence gave spoken testimony bolstered by a longer list of organizations that sent along written statements of support. The Resolution is scheduled for another hearing this Thursday, February 24, giving more Missourians an opportunity to express their support.
- New York: Even as more communities across the state – from Buffalo to the Adirondacks, down through the Hudson Valley and out along Long Island – are adopting their own Complete Streets policies to address safety and public health concerns, the New York State Association of Counties has issued a resolution against the recently re-introduced Complete Streets legislation. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign and AARP New York responded, showing most of the objections stem from misreading the legislation.
- Texas: On February 2, Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) filed Complete Streets bills in their respective houses. SB 513 and HB 1105 would direct the Texas Transportation Commission to adopt a Complete Streets policy to provide for bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation users. The bills direct use of the latest design guidance available from a number of organizations. Local authorities using state or federal money would also be required to follow the adopted policy.
- Washington: Two bills to support local Complete Streets measures were introduced in the Washington state legislature in January. HB 1700, which has already passed the House Transportation Committee, would allows cities, towns, and counties to use more flexible and comprehensive design guidance than currently provided by the Washington Department of Transportation's Highway Design Manual, and require Washington DOT to consult with communities and consider the needs of all users in all transportation projects. HB 1071, which has also passed out of the House Transportation Committee, creates (but doesn’t yet fund) a grant program for localities that adopt Complete Streets ordinances.
Quick Takes: Policy Progress
- Hailey, ID: On February 14, City Council heard a proposal to update city Street Design Standards to direct the development Complete Streets. This latest draft of a citywide Complete Streets policy is more context-sensitive than previous efforts, prioritizes sidewalk construction, and creates a new public involvement process. (Idaho Mountain Express and Guide)
- Cleveland, OH: Despite a great showing of community support for Complete Streets in a recent bridge project and a high profile complete streets project, City Council has decided not to pursue an ordinance for the city. Council members expressed concern that designing and building Complete Streets would put the city at a disadvantage when competing for state funding. Columbus and Dayton, their respective regional planning organizations, and the Cleveland area metropolitan planning organization, are all committed to Complete Streets.
- Newark, OH: With nearly 40 percent of residents who don’t drive cars, the City Council is considering a Complete Streets resolution on February 22. The resolution was tabled at an earlier meeting over concerns with proposed language. (Newark Advocate)
- Richmond, VA: Mayor Dwight C. Jones has presented City Council with recommendations from his Pedestrian, Bicycling, and Trails Planning Commission, which include the need for Complete Streets policy and design guidance. Tom Silvestri, publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, adds that such positive initiatives for the city should be taken up across the region.
- Vermont: Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, AARP Vermont's state and community outreach director, describes the need for comprehensive, statewide Complete Streets policy in the Burlington Free Press. AARP Vermont has partnered with 45 organizations across the state to press for Complete Streets legislation that will benefit not only the state's growing population of older adults, but also those looking to improve public health, air quality, and smart planning.
Federal Policy Update
President Obama released his budget for FY 2012, which included a bold blueprint for a six-year transportation bill that calls for a more multi-modal, effecient, and affordable approach. While a Complete Streets policy obviously doesn't have a budget line, Administration officials have indicated strong support for a Complete streets approach in their transportation bill, both in mainstream programs and in a new proposed Livability program that will prioritize multi-modal investments.
The House of Representatives budget battle spared Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School funding; however, cuts were made to public transportation and intercity rail, and the bill proposes to eliminate the popular TIGER competitive grant program. The budget will now be sent to the Senate.
As research for their transportation budget, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee kicked off a listening tour, hitting several communities around the country. With all that’s happening, it is as important as ever to let your Congress member know that you support Complete Streets!
Coalition Holds 2011 Strategy Meeting
Just last week, a diverse set of leaders of the National Complete Streets Coalition gathered for our (almost) annual Strategy Meeting. The group was the first to review our new Policy Analysis tool, which provides a detailed assessment of the strength of policies on paper (due for public release soon!). And we got started on our Performance Evaluation project, intended to develop a standard for the next stage of Complete Streets: recognizing communities that start to enact the provisions of their Complete Streets policy. Once again, we hope to set a welcoming standard that serves as both a benchmark of our progress and a guide that aids states and communities through the hurdles of putting a paper policy into action. Watch for more details soon. Thank you to all the active Coalition members that helped shape the day and signed up for future Complete Streets projects.
Complete Streets at TRB Annual Meeting
Complete Streets presentations were much in evidence at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting, particularly in a conference ‘spotlight’ session “Context Sensitive Solutions, Practical Design, and Complete Streets.” The presented paper, written by John LaPlante and Barbara McCann, can be found on the TRB Online website, and a Baltimore blogger gave a nice summary of John’s presentation.
During the nearly weeklong conference, over 30 people joined the National Complete Streets Coalition and walkability guru Dan Burden for “Dinner with Dan,” the National Complete Streets Coalition’s first Partner dinner. As always, Dan was inspiring as he told stories and spoke about his vision for building sustainable, connected, and walkable communities through a Complete Streets approach.
This dinner was part of our “Seize the Moment” campaign to bring in more Partners to the Coalition and, with additional funding, take the next steps to ensure that the new Complete Streets policies and laws (both the 200 that have already been adopted and those that will be passed) are effective in truly transforming our communities and our roads. We are planning additional ways for Partners to learn from each other, benefit from the Coalition’s expertise, and work together to increase support for Complete Streets. The next Partners event will be Federal Policy Update call scheduled for next month.
Interested in becoming a Complete Streets Partner? Sign up on our website or by contacting Christine Green.
Complete Streets Workshops Now Available Through EPA
We’re proud to partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make our Complete Streets Workshops available through EPA's Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program. The program will increase local capacity for sustainable planning in twenty communities through the use of standardized, ready-to-go tools that have a track record of success – including our Complete Streets Workshops. Letters of Interest are due today, February 23.
Coalition Welcomes New Steering Committee Member, Ryan Snyder Associates
"Ryan Snyder Associates (RSA) is thrilled to join the National Complete Streets Coalition as experts in the field of active and sustainable transportation," said President, Ryan Snyder. "RSA actively promotes and incorporates Complete Streets into all of its work." RSA has completed hundreds of bicycle, pedestrian, and safe routes to school plans since 1987. Current projects include the Glendale Bicycle Master Plan, the Lancaster Master Plan of Trails and Bikeways, and Technical Assistance Coordinator for Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grants. RSA prides itself as a leader in Complete Streets. RSA is spearheading the Model Street Manual project. This new street manual will embed Complete Streets principles into street design, and will be available nationally.
…And Two New Bronze Partners!
Martin/Alexiou/Bryson PC, based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, brings state-of-the art practices and cost-effective, sustainable solutions to all its clients. With Complete Streets Workshop instructor Roger Henderson and nearly 30 others on staff, M/A/B has a Complete Streets focus in its work. The firm has extensive multimodal experience, as illustrated through its work with more than 50 universities to develop campus plans that bring together pedestrian, bicycle, transit, demand management, parking and traffic strategies.
For 25 years, RPM Transportation Consultants has practiced a holistic approach to mobility, addressing end user needs from conceptual planning through design, and is proud to be recognized as a Complete Streets Coalition Partner. Dedicated solely to transportation engineering and planning, RPM has developed leading expertise in providing creative and technically sound solutions to our clients' needs. One example is RPM’s recent development of the nationally recognized Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the Nashville Region.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Active Aging Award Bestowed on Charlotte, NC
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has once again recognized the incredible work done by the City of Charlotte by awarding it a Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Achievement Award. The EPA recognized the city for following through on Mecklenburg County’s Status of Seniors Initiative to make age-friendly improvements to the built environment, fostering mixed-use development and a walkable community. High praise was bestowed on Charlotte’s integration of design features for all ages into its street improvements, as directed by the Urban Street Design Guidelines – which received EPA’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2009. Charlotte’s process is presented as best practice in our Complete Streets Workshops and continues to garner national attention for being forward-thinking, practical, and achieving high-quality results.
Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School Heralded as LaHood Celebrates one year of Let’s Move!
Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to combat childhood obesity, recently celebrated its first anniversary. In a blog post commending the Childhood Obesity Task Force’s successes, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood cites DOT initiatives that promote Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School as key assets in promoting healthier lifestyles necessary to eliminate childhood obesity.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- New Jersey: The most recent round of State Aid funded many municipal projects that will create more complete streets. “We were pleased with the number of non-traditional entries because it means we are increasingly recognizing the needs and safety of all who share our roadways,” said Commissioner James Simpson. BikeWalkJersey rightly points out that much of the money being spent on resurfacing could also help create safer, multimodal streets.
- Sussex County, NJ: In partnership with Morris and Warren Counties, New Jersey Department of Transportation, and Sussex County YMCA, the County will host a Complete Streets workshop for municipalities in the region on planning complete streets in suburban and rural areas. The evening workshop includes case studies and will address liability issues. (Warren Reporter)
- Providence, RI: Abel Collins, of the Sierra Club Rhode Island, opined on the benefits the city – and the state - could reap from adopting comprehensive Complete Streets policies. (Greater City: Providence)
- Seattle, WA: Preliminary data from the road diet undertaken on Nickerson Street, which reduced travel lanes to add a center turn lane and two bike lanes, show that the changes have not affected automobile capacity and have slowed drivers somewhat closer to the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour. (PubliCola)
- Spokane, WA: Futurewise, a Washington state organization committed to promoting smart growth, and many local residents wooed the Spokane City Council with valentine cards urging the adoption of a Complete Streets ordinance.
- National: Sustainable Cities Network, a website aimed at city officials interested in sustainability, posted a lengthy article about Complete Streets that includes insights from Executive Director Barbara McCann, Charlotte, NC’s Mark Cole, and more.
Incomplete Streets Death: Bobbie McGuire
On Monday, February 7, Bobbie McGuire was struck and killed by a car while she walked to work on 41st Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. McGuire’s safe travel was impeded by a patchy sidewalk network made worse by unshoveled snow, which forced her to walk in the street. Streetlights in the area were not on at the time of her death.
Teleconference: Planning for the Accessibility of Livable and Sustainable Communities
Easter Seals Project ACTION will conduct a teleconference event focused on the importance of accessibility for people with disabilities in planning for the development of livable and sustainable communities on Wednesday March 9 at 2:00 pm EST. Speakers include Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Kate Mattice, Director of Policy Review and Development for the Federal Transit Administration, and Christopher Setti, a representative of the City of Peoria, IL. Register before February 28.
Safety in Numbers in Minneapolis
According to the latest Minneapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Report (.pdf), as bicycle usage has increased by 174 percent in the city, the number of bicyclist-motorist crashes has decreased by twenty percent. New York City and Portland, Oregon have witnessed similar trends linking increased ridership to safer conditions.
South Carolina Complete Streets Resources
Eat Smart, Move More South Carolina, a state-wide obesity prevention coalition, has produced a Complete Streets Toolbook and a Complete Streets Advocacy Manual to help South Carolinians push for pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly infrastructure in their towns.
Street Smart Walk Score
Walk Score’s new Street Smart Walk Score, still in beta testing, makes a great tool for assessing community walkability to a new level. First, Street Smart uses actual walking routes rather than crow-flies distances to calculate your score. It looks at the underlying road network to compute the number of intersections per square mile and average block length, and weights destinations based on research about what people actually walk to. These changes mean Walk Score can generate a more accurate map of neighborhood amenities. Preview the feature today!
Portland’s Investments in Bicycling: Cost-Effective
A first of its kind report in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health finds that Portland, Oregon's past and planned investments in bicycling relate to millions of dollars saved in health care costs and fuel expenditures (.pdf). By 2040, the author states that investments in the range of $138 to $605 million will result in health care cost savings of $388 to $594 million and fuel savings of $143 to $218 million. The League of American Bicyclists shares additional data from the Portland metropolitan region, showing that investments in biking and walking are related to more new commute trips in bicycling – and at a lower cost – than investments in motor vehicle infrastructure.
Cycle Tracks Research
New research published in Injury Prevention may help change American engineering guidance. In the article Risk of Injury for Bicycling on Cycle Tracks Versus in the Street, researchers share findings that two-way cycle tracks separated from automobile travel lanes in Montreal attracted more bicyclists than streets without bicycle facilities and may be safer too.
Conference on Performance Measures for Transportation and Livability
The Transportation Research Board has announced that it will hold a conference focusing on “the development and application of performance measures for transportation and livability” at the end of September 2011 in Austin, Texas.
New Roundabouts Resources
Roundabouts are common tools for communities building complete streets, and two new resources will help communities build them right. The Transportation Research Board released the second edition of Roundabouts: An Informational Guide, exploring “the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of roundabouts.” The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) published a report on solutions for pedestrians with vision disabilities (.pdf) crossing roundabouts and channelized turn lanes.
Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices
A web-only resource from TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program provides an introduction to accessible pedestrian signals (APS) and highlights issues related to the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of APS. Drawing on national and international case studies and practice, the document is a companion resource to a one-day training course on APS.
"In these hard economic times, in order to encourage recovery, we really need to make sure that everybody in our community can get to work, can get to their appointments, can get to school, on time and safely, regardless of their age or physical abilities and regardless of their income."
— Kitty Klitzke, Futurewise Eastern WA Program Director
"You will be one of the smaller rural communities to adopt (a Complete Streets policy) but you will be setting a great example."
- Michael Vander Haar, Pipestone, MN Active Living coordinator
"The worst thing for a city to do is assume that things will always be the way they are because this is the way they have always been. Things are going to change, and if we don't look forward, we'll be forever looking backward."
- Irene Kennedy and Ed Houdeshel, City Council members, Newark, Ohio
"It's taking a whole new approach to how you design road projects. It's kind of nice the state's starting to take this approach."
- Vince Pastue, Farmington, MI city manager
Thank you to our Partners: