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
- States Make Progress in Early 2012
- Quick Takes: Policy Action
- Federal Policy Update
- Coalition Workshop Puts Deerfield Beach on the Path to Success
- 10.4 Billion Public Transportation Trips Taken in 2011, Americans Save Hundreds of Dollars
- National Coalition Joins Sierra Club for Informative Presentation
- Workshops Continue in Massachusetts
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
- Momentum Growing in Houston
- Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- Study: Increasing Physical Activity in a Low-Income African-American Neighborhood
- Three Videos Communicate Walkability Message
- Designing Healthy Communities with Richard Jackson
- Seattle Road Diet Improves Safety
- Combined Housing and Transportation Affordability Has Declined Since 2000
- Funding Available: Childhood Obesity Rapid Response Fund
- Funding Available: Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Initiative
- Report: New Social Equity Agenda for Sustainable Transportation
- Webinar: Empowering Women to Bicycle for Transportation
- Video Highlights Needs of Blind and Low-Vision Pedestrians
- Registration Open for Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012
- Rail~Volution 2012 Call for Speakers Opens
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS
States Make Progress in Early 2012
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) highlighted some of the ways it is implementing its 2008 Complete Streets policy on the Coalition's blog this month. Caltrans promotes Complete Streets implementation through its design guidance: the Complete Intersections Guide (.pdf), which identifies actions that will improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists at intersections and interchanges, came out last year, and an upcoming revision of the Highway Design Manual will include significant updates that move the Department's Complete Streets work ahead. Caltrans also noted some of its recent projects that follow a Complete Streets approach.
We also turned our attention to California late last month, when we released our report, It's a Safe Decision: Complete Streets in California (.pdf), documenting Complete Streets success stories in communities across the state. Representative Doris Matsui (CA-5), one of the Congressional sponsors of a federal Complete Streets policy, gathered with local leaders in Sacramento to celebrate the report's findings and to call for a national Complete Streets policy to make streets safer for everyone. Read more about the event and the report on our blog.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently updated its Complete Streets implementation work plan with new attention to the state's growing population of older adults, achieving better public health outcomes, and creating even safer streets for everyone. The DOT also put together a resources list (.pdf) that provides a general overview of plans, policies, and guidelines related to Complete Streets that are relevant to Minnesota communities.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation offered a Complete Streets training to its 42 newly hired Civil Engineers in Training, and plans to bring more training opportunities across the state this year. Offering ongoing education opportunities is one of the Coalition's key steps to successful implementation, and New Jersey is among the first agencies to ensure its new hires get up to speed on the concept and goals.
Complete Streets bills are moving ahead in Rhode Island this legislative session. Backed by AARP Rhode Island and the Coalition for Transportation Choices, S2131 (.pdf) and H7352 (.pdf) would build upon existing state statutes to require a Complete Streets approach on all state Department of Transportation projects. The Senate approved its bill in late February referred it to the House for consideration. The companion House bill has been scheduled for a hearing by the House Municipal Government Committee in early April.
A Complete Streets bill, HB 4074, gained some traction in the West Virginia State Legislature this session. An amended version of the bill, sponsored by Delegate Nancy Guthrie, passed the House Committee on Transportation before heading to the House Finance Committee, where it ultimately stalled. Supporters such as AARP West Virginia and the Morgantown Pedestrian Safety Board are likely to continue pressing for a state law in future sessions.
Quick Takes: Policy Action
- City staff rode with roughly a dozen youths on an 8.5-mile route through Baldwin Park, California to hear their recommendations for bicycle-related improvements that could be made as the city's Complete Streets policy is implemented. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
- Advocates in Chicago question whether the city or the state followed their Complete Streets policies in redesigning Fullerton Parkway. (Grid Chicago)
- An April 16 Complete Streets Summit in Buffalo, New York will highlight the importance of implementing the Complete Streets policy adopted by the city, and draw on examples of national best practices through a panel of experts. (Buffalo BusinessFirst)
- Charlotte, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials met with Park-Woodlawn residents to discuss how to encourage future development while minimizing additional automobile traffic, focusing on creating walkable developments. (South Charlotte Weekly)
- Building on its Complete Streets philosophy, the City of Manistique, Michigan is applying for a "Community for a Lifetime" designation to reflect its commitment to creating a community for people of all ages. (Escanaba Daily Press)
- Airport Boulevard in Austin, Texas is getting a major facelift in line with the city's Complete Streets policy and ongoing development along the corridor. (KUT Austin)
- Edmonds, Washington is putting its June 2011 Complete Streets ordinance to work with a project on Main Street. (Edmonds Patch)
- Jeffrey Tumlin, a Principal at Coalition Partner firm Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, urged the City of Spokane, Washington to rethink how it used its transportation dollars and implement its Complete Streets policy to save money and improve economic vitality. (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
Federal Policy Update
The National Complete Streets Coalition applauds the passage of the Senate's bi-partisan surface transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). MAP-21 makes significant progress in ensuring the safety of users of the transportation system, and the Coalition urges the House to follow by passing their own bi-partisan bill.
The final bill includes a measure for the safe accommodation of all users in federally-funded street projects that received bi-partisan support while in committee. The bill also for the first time clearly defines 'road users' as including people who walk and bicycle and use public transportation, as well as people with disabilities and older adults. We thank the Senate for working to identify small ways to fully integrate all users of the roadway in the complex arena of federal transportation law.
Other members of the National Complete Streets Coalition are sharing more details on their take on the bill. See ongoing analysis from Transportation for America and America Bikes.
Coalition Workshop Puts Deerfield Beach on the Path to Success
Two of our Workshop Instructors, Jeff Riegner and Kristin Bennett, headed down to Deerfield Beach, Florida to facilitate a Complete Streets Policy Development Workshop. In the morning, the team gave several presentations on Complete Streets policy and implementation practices and led small group discussions. That afternoon, participants set to work, writing the first pieces of a Complete Streets policy that would best serve the community. The workshop was made possible through a partnership with Smart Growth America, which received a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Sustainable Communities.
10.4 Billion Public Transportation Trips Taken in 2011, Americans Save Hundreds of Dollars
The American Public Transportation Association, a Steering Committee member, reports that Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation in 2011, the second highest annual ridership since 1957. And, in its monthly "Transit Savings Report", APTA reports that citizens from Las Vegas to New York City are saving over $750 per month by taking transit rather than driving a car, adding up to annual savings topping $9000.
National Coalition Joins Sierra Club for Informative Presentation
On Thursday, March 1, the National Complete Streets Coalition joined Complete Streets advocates from Rhode Island and Minnesota chapters of the Sierra Club to discuss the basics of Complete Streets; policy adoption campaigns; and ensuring implementation. Check out the summary and links to the presentations from Rachel Butler of the Sierra Club.
Workshops Continue in Massachusetts
The Coalition continues to work with Silver Partner T.Y. Lin International and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to deliver focused 3-hour primers and 6-hour workshops across the state of Massachusetts. These workshops help municipal officials, local leaders, decision makers and consultants to value and understand the framework to deliver Complete Streets locally. The free 3-hour sessions focus on the benefits of Complete Streets and implementation strategies. The 6-hour workshops, available at a low cost, feature more technical discussions. Both are eligible for AICP credit. For more information, visit the online workshops schedule or email email@example.com.
COMPLETE STREETS NEWS
Momentum Growing in Houston
Everyone from the state AARP Chapter to Houston Tomorrow to Catholic Charities has joined together to form the new Houston Complete Streets Coalition -- and the topic is hot. Walkability expert Dan Burden visited last month and proclaimed "the worst sidewalk in America" to be along the city's Navigation Boulevard. Charlene Hunter James of AARP Texas's executive council penned an op-ed highlighting the need to provide safer streets for people of all ages. The Houston Chronicle editorial board weighed in too, saying, "Right now is the time to demand Complete Streets in neighborhoods all across town." And a recent study showing that many Houstonians pay more in transportation costs than they do for housing underscored the importance of providing travel options beyond the personal automobile.
Quick Takes: Complete Streets Talk Across the Country
- The second annual Complete Streets for California conference, held earlier this month, attracted a broad number of participants to energize their work, share stories, and discuss how to ensure Complete Streets become routine in the state. Presentations from the conference are available online for your viewing. (LA StreetsBlog)
- The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, which creates transportation policy for the Broward County, Florida, has kicked off its Complete Streets Initiative in partnership with the Broward Regional Health Planning Council.
- Georgia Complete Streets advocates have found a new supporter in State Senator Butch Miller, who has committed to working toward a Complete Streets policy for the state.
- New York State Senator Jack Martins issued a call for a more "complete" Hempstead Turnpike, in line with the state's Complete Streets legislation, in an opinion piece in the Mineola Patch.
- A report documenting pedestrian fatalities in Nassau County, New York has Complete Streets advocate Sandi Vega hoping for new Complete Streets policies to address the issues on the roadway where her teenage daughter and several others were killed. (Wantagh-Seaford Patch)
- After completing the Lancaster Health Improvement Project report, planners in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania are recommending the adoption of a Complete Streets policy. (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era)
- The City of San Antonio credits its new Complete Streets policy and other built environment initiatives for its ranking in Men's Fitness Magazine as 25th most fit city in the nation. (KSAT San Antonio)
- Responding to a New York Times Room for Debate question on how to make cities safer for people on bikes and foot, renowned urban planner Peter Calthorpe called for Complete Streets designs.
- Complete Streets Workshop Instructor Cynthia Hoyle visited Muncie, Indiana recently to discuss Complete Streets and help launch a local campaign to improve the city's streets. (Muncie Star Press)
- Steering Committee member, Workshop Instructor, and Principal at SvR Design Company (a Coalition Platinum Partner) Tom von Schrader discusses the change in street design to favor a more balanced, multimodal, and environmentally friendly approach in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.
Study: Increasing Physical Activity in a Low-Income African-American Neighborhood
A recent study from The Prevention Research Center at Tulane University investigated how changes to community, including a walking path and a new school playground, would effect the rates of physical activity in a low-income African-American neighborhood in New Orleans. Researchers concluded that "built environment changes, such as easily accessible paths that lead to destinations, can provide more opportunities for physical activity in primarily African American neighborhoods and others where infrastructure has been allowed to fall into disrepair or was not initially installed."
Three Videos Communicate Walkability Message
With funding from the Martin County, Florida Community Redevelopment Agency, the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute has created three short educational videos to help the general public understand the basics of walkability, road diets, and head-out angled parking. You can find links to all the videos online.
Designing Healthy Communities with Richard Jackson
A 4-hour PBS series, hosted by Richard Jackson, MD, MPH, examines the impact of our communities' design on key public health indices such as obesity and heart disease. Dr. Jackson discusses the negative affects and what communities are doing to improve their built environments. DVDs of the series and a companion book are available for purchase.
Seattle Road Diet Improves Safety
Mayor Mike McGinn shares data demonstrating that a road diet on Nickerson Street means the street is now safer for everyone. The project, completed in August 2010, has reduced collisions by 23 percent, kept motorists in line with established speed limits, and has not resulted in any traffic diversion to other streets. Seattle Fire Department Chief Gregory Dean noted, "a reduction in the number of collisions allows for good access for emergency response vehicles, helping firefighters and paramedics respond faster to emergency incidents."
Combined Housing and Transportation Affordability Has Declined Since 2000
A new analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology shows that less than one in three American communities are actually affordable for the typical household when you consider transportation, as well as housing, costs. It is much for difficult for the typical household to find a truly affordable home today than a decade ago, as housing and transportation costs have outpaced incomes.
Funding Available: Childhood Obesity Rapid Response Fund
The American Heart Association, through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is now offering funding through a competitive process to support promising ongoing public policy change campaigns – including Complete Streets campaigns! These grants are to fund short-term projects designed to provide critically timed and needed additional support to promising campaigns. Check out the website for more information and to apply.
Funding Available: Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Initiative
The Federal Transit Administration announced the availability of $125 million to finance capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment and construct bus facilities. Proposals are due by March 29, 2012.
Report: New Social Equity Agenda for Sustainable Transportation
The Victoria Transport Policy Institute released a new report on the incorporation of equity and environmental justice into transportation planning and policy (.pdf). The report recommends a framework that better considers how decisions affect the variety of transportation options available to non-drivers.
Webinar: Empowering Women to Bicycle for Transportation
Join the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals for a free webinar on programs and approaches that engage, empower, and encourage women to bicycle more on a regular basis. The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, at 3:00 pm Eastern Time.
Video Highlights Needs of Blind and Low-Vision Pedestrians
In a somewhat silly spoof of video games, a Greek film illustrates the difficulties a blind person faces when simply trying to walk down a sidewalk. The short video notes common obstructions such as trashcans, tree limbs, and parked cars.
Registration Open for Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012
Pro Walk/Pro Bike, presented by the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, and Project for Public Spaces, will be held this September 10-13, 2012 in Long Beach, California. Pro Walk/Pro Bike attracts hundreds of walking and bicycling professionals from the United States and abroad to discuss their work and meet peers. Early bird registration extends through May 16.
Rail~Volution 2012 Call for Speakers Opens
This year's Rail~Volution, to be held in Los Angeles this October 14-17, is looking for speakers who can share stories and information on creating vibrant, equitable, sustainable communities with transit. Visit www.railvolution.org today to read the full Call for Speakers description and submit a proposal to speak. Proposals are due March 30, 2012.
"I know the new markings and lines look odd. They are different from what we are used to seeing, and they represent a new way to think about streets and traffic. Streets used to be designed just for the benefit of cars and drivers. New ways of thinking leads to streets that work for everyone and this requires slower traffic."
-- Mayor Tim Kant, Fairhope, Alabama
"Complete Streets initiatives will begin to undo some of this damage to the built environment, restore transportation options and provide many people at least a small measure of freedom from the tyranny of the gas pump."
-- John Bennett, columnist, Connect Savannah
"The argument that Muncie cannot afford complete street concepts while potholes abound is powerful, but ultimately wrong. It's not necessary or even desirable to transform every street into a showplace. But wherever substantial rebuilding or reconstruction is planned, adding a bike lane or accommodating a bus pullout would not be a substantial expense."
-- Muncie Star Press editorial board
"There is a growing realization that streets should be designed more for people, not just cars. It's amazing how a few changes in street design can have such a positive effect on a community's health, safety, economy and social vitality."
-- Bryan Jones, City of Carlsbad Deputy Transportation Director
Thank you to our Partners: