Photo by John Williams

NCBW Newsroom - Regional and Local Actions

The National & International Scene | Regional and Local Actions | The Research Beat | Resources | Jobs, Grants & RFPs

THE BEST COMPLETE STREETS POLICIES OF 2016
-> According to Smart Growth America, as of the end of 2016, more than 1,200 jurisdictions in the United States have made formal commitments to streets that are safe and convenient for everyone—no matter their age, income, race, ethnicity, physical ability, or how they choose to travel—by passing a Complete Streets policy. The 222 policies passed in 2016 are the strongest ever passed. When the National Complete Streets Coalition first analyzed Complete Streets polices in 2006, the median score was 34. In 2016, 51 policies scored a 90 or higher, including 3 policies that scored a perfect 100. (The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2016: http://bit.ly/2sqLQyO) The Coalition is in the process of updating its policy scoring rubric for next year’s review of new policies to give more weight to equity considerations as well as implementation.

PHILADELPHIA, PA: TEACHING COMPUTER SKILLS TO ACCESS BIKE SHARE
-> Next City reports last year, realizing digital literacy could be a barrier to participation, Philadelphia’s Indego bike-share system partnered with the City’s Office of Adult Education to offer a class they call “Digital Skills and Bike Thrills.” In it, mostly low-income students of a wide range of ages, educational and racial backgrounds learn how to navigate both city streets and common computer needs. Indego’s monthly pass sign-ups are done online. An app helps navigate stations and displays bike availability. Just checking out a bike requires some tech skills. In a city that has made big strides toward bike-share inclusivity — siting stations widely across the city, not just in wealthy or central locales, and offering a cash payment option — computer skills remained a potential obstacle. http://bit.ly/2t0LBay

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: EXPANDING BIKE LANE NETWORK & DISABILITY ACCESS
-> According to the StarTribune, many popular commercial corridors in Minneapolis, MN will eventually cede part of the roadway to designated lanes for bicycles. The shift is already fanning the debate about safety, traffic congestion and lost parking in front of shops and homes. But there's another concern: How can people with disabilities navigate these new streets safely? People used to be able to deploy their lifts and ramps onto a sidewalk or boulevard — now, they’re deploying them into the street and into the bike lane. Access is particularly challenging when bike lanes are protected from cars by poles or curbs. http://strib.mn/2sqTxoF

AKRON, OH: PART OF 6-LANE HIGHWAY TO BE COVERED BY TREES
-> CityLab reports a sunken six-lane Innerbelt connector obliterated downtown Akron in the 1970s. Next summer, it’s going to be covered in trees. Never fully completed, the 4.5-mile long freeway devastated historic black neighborhoods, cordoned off downtown from westbound foot traffic, and became a notoriously underused “road to nowhere” as Akron’s population dwindled. Thirty-five acres of highway are in the process of being decommissioned, and smaller, safer, surface streets are on the way to replace it. Once the road is right-sized to fit the relatively small stream of traffic it gets, though, about two dozen acres will be left over. Now, a quarter-million dollar project will invite locals aboard the asphalt to imagine how the rest of it could be readapted for the long term. With a $214,420 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's 2017 Knight Cities Challenge, the artist Hunter Franks will transform two acres of highway with lush trees, alluring light installations, and public events fully accessible for surrounding neighborhoods. http://bit.ly/2t0n1Xx

PORTLAND, OR REGIONAL SRTS FRAMEWORK
-> According to the Alta Planning + Design Newsletter, Portland (OR) Public Schools estimate that more than 30% of students walk or bike to school daily. The Regional Safe Routes to School Framework (http://bit.ly/2t0VpRN) is the first step toward helping Oregon Metro develop regional policies and strategies for establishing and supporting Safe Routes to School initiatives across the region. http://bit.ly/2t0FPWu

HARTFORD, CT: BID OFFERS FREE ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE TO CYCLISTS
-> Streetsblog USA reports bicyclists in downtown Hartford, CT, have a new option if they need repairs on the go — the area’s business improvement district has launched a first-of-its-kind roadside assistance program. The Hartford BID appears to the be the first business district in the United States to offer it — for free, seven days a week. Anyone within its 55-block coverage area is eligible. Six of the BID’s on-street ambassadors have been trained to fix flats and do minor repairs. The goal is to encourage more people to get to work by bike by giving them peace of mind about any mechanical problems that might threaten to derail their commute. http://bit.ly/2sZQXTB

PA ADDS US BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM SEGMENT
-> The Adventure Cycling Association announced Pennsylvania’s first nationally designated bicycle route – U.S. Bicycle Route 50 – was officially approved in May by AASHTO, and makes Pennsylvania the 25th state to join the developing U.S. Bicycle Route System. The 163-mile route mostly follows off-road trails, including the popular Great Allegheny Passage, Montour Trail, and the Panhandle Trail. Cyclists can now ride 538 miles on U.S. Bicycle Route 50 from Washington, DC, to the Indiana/Illinois border. Once completed, the route will connect all the way to San Francisco. With the addition of USBR 50 in Pennsylvania, the U.S. Bicycle Route System expands to 11,726 miles and covers half the states in America. http://bit.ly/2slYn6f

SEATTLE, WA: MORE WHO RIDE WORK NEAR PROTECTED BIKE LANES
-> Mobility Lab reports people who work near Seattle, WA’s protected bike lanes ride to work more often. An analysis from nonprofit Commute Seattle recently found the seven employers with the highest rates of bike commuting are all within one block of a protected bike lane. Of the companies with the 15 highest biking rates, all are within five blocks of a protected bike lane or trail. http://bit.ly/2sriEre

BALTIMORE, MD: MAYOR CUTS PROTECTED BIKE LANE WIDTH
-> Streetsblog USA reports Baltimore, MD Mayor Catherine Pugh has given in to bikelash, downgrading a new protected bike lane while the city was in the process of installing it. Now, the bikeway will be redone as a patchwork of unprotected and too-narrow paths that fail to meet engineering standards — while resulting in dangerously wide car lanes that encourage speeding. One particular objection turned Pugh against the bike lane: firefighters cited the International Fire Code that requires 20 feet of unobstructed width for full-size fire trucks to navigate a street. However insistence on 20-foot widths for fire trucks was not an issue in converting other streets from parallel to angled parking to squeeze in more spaces or on historic streets throughout Baltimore that are less than 20 feet wide, with or without parked cars. Bike advocates worry the city will start using the 20-foot rule against other street safety projects. http://bit.ly/2t0l7Gi

OR TRANSPO BILL FALLS SHORT ON SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
-> BikePortland (OR) reports staff and supporters from The Street Trust say a $8.2 billion transportation bill doesn’t do enough to fund Safe Routes to School. While lawmakers want to fast-track nearly $2 billion for a few freeway expansion projects in the Portland region, they want to dedicate just $10 million a year for 10 years to the Safe Routes to School program: to “improve sidewalks; reduce vehicle speeds; improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings; create or improve bicycle lanes; or improve traffic diversion” within a quarter-mile of schools. The money would also only be available to agencies and organizations that could come up with a 40% match. The Street Trust advocates adding an additional $6 million annually for classroom safety education, extending eligible funding to within a mile of schools, prioritizing Title I schools, and dropping the match requirement. http://bit.ly/2t0esfc

HIGHLAND PARK, MI RAIL-TRAIL SEGMENT CONNECTS DETROIT LOOP
-> Detroit Greenways Coalition announced it received a $5,000 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to raise awareness and build support for constructing the Inner Circle Greenway rail-trail segment within the city of Highland Park. The Inner Circle Greenway is the largest urban trail project in Michigan. It began as a community vision to use 8 miles of abandoned rail corridor to create a 26-mile loop trail that extended the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut into the neighborhoods. However, 1.4 miles of the abandoned rail corridor is within the city of Highland Park. While the city of Detroit is still committed to acquiring this portion of the corridor, it does not have immediate plans to develop it. This is a critical trail connection that would have tremendous benefit to the local community as well as the overall trail itself. http://bit.ly/2sriJep

Get a jump start on this news by subscribing to CenterLines.