ASLA supports legislation that encourages designing transportation corridors to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.
Background & Analysis
The Safe and Complete Streets Act would require that the safety, interests and convenience of all users be considered in the design and construction of all federally-funded transportation projects. This legislation would implement a federal Complete Streets policy that is flexible enough to accommodate all types of projects in all locations across the country. Exemptions would be available where costs would be too prohibitive, for highways and other roads where pedestrians are not allowed, or where population, employment density, and transit service is so low that the expected users would not include pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transit users. Federal Complete Streets legislation would also call on the Secretary of Transportation to provide research, technical guidance and data collection to assist states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in developing and implementing Complete Streets policies and projects. Under the bill, the Secretary would work with the American Society of Landscape Architects, along with other allied organizations, in developing this technical assistance and guidance.
The Complete Streets movement is spreading across the country. Currently, there are 500 state and local Complete Streets policies adopted throughout the nation. A national Complete Streets policy would ensure that all our nation’s right-of-ways are safe for all users. Complete Streets policies promote the creation of more walkable and public transportation-oriented communities, thereby improving pedestrian safety, encouraging healthy and active lifestyles, helping improve air quality and helping to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
In the 112th Congress, Complete Streets legislation was introduced in both the House of Representatives (H.R. 1780) and in the Senate (S. 1056). Both bills called on states and MPOs to establish Complete Streets policies and apply them to federally-funded projects.
During Senate Commerce Committee consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), a Complete Streets amendment was adopted and included in the Senate-passed version of the MAP-21 bill. However, during the House/Senate Conference Committee negotiations, the Complete Streets language was removed from the final version of MAP-21 that was signed into law.
The Safe and Complete Streets Act is currently awaiting re-introduction in the 113th Congress.
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