Washington, DC – Ashland, Framingham, Longmeadow, Lynn, Natick, Norwell and Weymouth have among the top “Complete Streets” policies in the nation, according to rankings announced today by Smart Growth America.
Ten Massachusetts communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2015 — the most of any state in the country last year — and seven of those policies were among the best in the nation according to Smart Growth America’s new national analysis. The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015, an annual ranking from Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition released today, evaluated all 82 Complete Streets policies passed in 2015.
Seven Massachusetts communities were included at the top of the rankings:
- Reading, PA (100.0)
- West Hartford, CT (94.4)
- Longmeadow, MA (92.8
Park Forest, IL (92.8)
South Bend, IN (92.8)
- Weymouth, MA (92.0)
- Omaha, NE (88.8)
- Vincennes, IN (88.0)
- Ashland, MA (87.2)
Natick, MA (87.2)
Norwell, MA (87.2)
- Little Rock, AR (85.6)
- Framingham, MA (84.8)
Lynn, MA (84.8)
Portage, MI (84.8)
- Battle Ground, WA (84.0)
Complete Streets are roadways that are safe, accessible and comfortable for all users, regardless of age, physical ability, income, or how they choose to travel: by transit, on foot, by bike or public transit. Complete Streets increase safety, promote economic development, and enhance public safety.
“Roadways are more than just thoroughfares for cars, and MAPC is committed to helping our region’s cities and towns to adopt Complete Streets policies that serve everyone who uses the roads, whether they’re in a car or bus, on a bike, or on their feet,” said Marc Draisen, MAPC Executive Director. “These policies are an important local tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, advancing smart development, and improving residents’ health and well-being.”
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston, the regional planning agency serving the people who live and work in the 101 cities and towns of Greater Boston, provides technical assistance to communities looking to develop and implement Complete Streets policies. Working with MassDOT (the Massachusetts Department of Transportation), which offers a special funding incentive program to cities and towns that adopt Complete Streets policies, MAPC has helped many municipalities to write Complete Streets policies and bicycle and pedestrian network plans. To date, 70 cities and towns have registered for the MassDOT Complete Streets program, with 44% of those cities and towns serving populations at or below the median household income.
The City of Reading, PA passed the best-written policy of 2015, scoring an unprecedented perfect 100.
“We work with communities across the country on Complete Streets policies, and we show how strong policy language can make streets safer or feel more welcoming,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “Reading totally got it. They understood how policy can shape the feel of a community and took it to heart. The fact that their policy scored a perfect 100 is proof of that.”
Nationwide, a total of 898 Complete Streets policies have been passed by 843 separate municipalities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, state agencies, and states.
See more information about the winning policies and evaluation criteria at http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/best-complete-streets-policies-of-2015.
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The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is the regional planning agency serving the people who live and work in Metro Boston. Our work is guided by our regional plan, “MetroFuture: Making a Greater Boston region.” Find out more at http://www.mapc.org/complete-streets-roll.
Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for, and leading coalitions to bring better development to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information, visit http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/completestreets.