- The National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC), a program of Smart Growth America, recognized 10 communities that drafted and implemented the best Complete Streets policies of 2018. Cleveland Heights, OH was recognized as having the best Complete Streets policies, followed in the rankings by Des Moines, IA; Milwaukee; Baltimore; Madison, CT; Neptune Beach, FL; Fairfield, CT; Huntsville, AL; Amherst, MA; and Walpole, MA.
- The rankings reward cities that have passed Complete Streets policies, which look to make streets safer for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists. NCSC used a grading framework to reflect how difficult it can be to turn policies into tangible change.
- "The number of people struck and killed while walking has increased by 35% in the last decade nationally, at the same time that overall traffic fatalities have been going down. The good news is that we already know the solution: designing and building streets that are safe for everyone who needs to use them," Emiko Atherton, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, said in a statement.
With the rise of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, it is important for cities to implement policies that make streets safer. In a preliminary projection , the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) put 2018's pedestrian fatalities at 6,227, a 4% increase over 2017 and the highest since 1990.
NCSC and Smart Growth America have called on cities to rethink street design to encourage slower speeds, especially as mixed-use developments encourage greater pedestrian access.
There have been significant areas of progress, even as fatalities have climbed. Los Angeles and Portland, OR lowered speed limits in portions of the cities as part of their Vision Zero initiatives, while Boston updated its plans to lower speed limits and introduce traffic calming measures while prioritizing transportation projects to address inequality. New York City has special driver safety programs for high school seniors in an effort to reduce pedestrian fatalities, in addition to increased enforcement of traffic violations after sunset.
But NCSC indicated that low-income areas are disproportionately affected by road fatalities, and with different mobility options hitting city streets, that is sure to make leaders more conscious of safety.
That work has continued with the unveiling earlier this year of the Streets For All Coalition, a group intended to advocate for "improved mobility, equitable access and reduced car dependence in communities everywhere."
No local government was represented in the coalition’s founding membership, but with new avenues and a renewed emphasis on passing policies to encourage safer streets, the fatality figures should start to come down.