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TOPIC VII: PLANS & POLICIES

This section – Cities: Plans and Policies – looks at public policies created by cities and published through a formal process. These plans and policies provide a basis for coordination between a city and other entities so that all stakeholders involved in transportation decision making have a common understanding of the goals of the city for bicycling and walking.

This section looks at three principle sources of public policy for bicycling and walking at the city level:

  • BICYCLE AND/OR PEDESTRIAN PLANS: These plans can serve a variety of purposes and be developed in a variety of ways. Common purposes for bicycle and/ or pedestrian plans include reviewing relevant city policies, developing project prioritization processes, and coordinating policies and funding decisions with stakeholders.
  • COMPLETE STREETS ACTIONS: Complete Streets policies ensure that streets are planned, designed, and operated  with the needs of all users in mind including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets actions can take a variety of forms, such as legislation, policies adopted by the city’s Department of Transportation or equivalent agency, and design guidance that gives planners and engineers the tools to put a policy into practice.
  • PARTICIPATION IN VISION ZERO EFFORTS: The Vision Zero Network and the Road to Zero Coalition both pursue the goal of ending traffic fatalities. A discussion of both groups can be found in Chapter III: Make Your Case: Section II: Safe Transportation.

City Plans Supporting Improvements for Pedestrians & Bicyclists

FIGURE 3.7.1A – CITY PLANS SUPPORTING IMPROVEMENTS FOR PEDESTRIANS & BICYCLISTS, LARGE CITIES

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FIGURE 3.7.1B – CITY PLANS SUPPORTING IMPROVEMENTS FOR PEDESTRIANS & BICYCLISTS, SMALL OR MID-SIZED CITIES

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Bicycle and/or pedestrian plans have become ubiquitous at the city-level. Most cities, whether large cities or other cities reviewed for the Benchmarking Report have adopted a bicycle and/or pedestrian plan with the last ten years. In the 50 largest cities, 84% of cities have a bicycle plan that has been adopted in the last ten years. Slightly fewer, 62% have a pedestrian plan adopted in the last ten years.

In the other cities reviewed for the Benchmarking Report, bicycle plans are also slightly more prevalent and more likely to be updated within the last ten years. Two cities are notable, Missoula, Montana has reported it is developing a bicycle plan, but did not report one  yet adopted and Pittsburgh has the oldest adopted, but not updated, bicycle plan – from 1999. This stands in contrast to the oldest not updated statewide bicycle plan, which appears to be Ohio’s bicycle plan adopted in 1989. 75

Complete Streets Actions for Integrating Pedestrians & Bicyclists in Transportation Projects

FIGURE 3.7.2A – COMPLETE STREETS ACTIONS FOR INTEGRATING PEDESTRIANS & BICYCLISTS IN TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS, LARGE CITIES

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FIGURE 3.7.2B – COMPLETE STREETS ACTIONS FOR INTEGRATING PEDESTRIANS & BICYCLISTS IN TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS, SMALL OR MID-SIZED CITIES

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Complete Streets actions are widespread, although they are not uniform in type or quality. Only 10 of the largest 50 cities have not taken any Complete Streets action according to data from the National Complete Streets Coalition. More large cities (17) have taken more than one action than have taken no action.

The most common types of actions taken in large cities are policy actions, either specifically internal to an agency or not, and resolutions, which are typically non-binding and may or may not have any implementation steps. Among the other cities reviewed for the Benchmarking Report, legislation – which typically results in binding ordinances that city agencies and staff must follow – are the most common type of Complete Streets action.

City Support for Efforts to Reach Zero Traffic Deaths

FIGURE 3.7.3A – CITY SUPPORT FOR EFFORTS TO REACH ZERO TRAFFIC DEATHS, LARGE CITIES

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FIGURE 3.7.3B – CITY SUPPORT FOR EFFORTS TO REACH ZERO TRAFFIC DEATHS, SMALL OR MID-SIZED CITIES

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» ABOUT VISION ZERO CITIES

According to the Vision Zero Network, to be recognized as a “Vision Zero City” a city must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • A clear goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries has been set.
  • The Mayor has publicly, officially committed to Vision Zero.
  • A Vision Zero plan or strategy is in place, or the Mayor has committed to doing so in clear time frame.
  • Key city departments (including police, transportation and public health) are engaged.

» ABOUT ROAD TO ZERO COALITION MEMBERS

The Road to Zero Coalition is free to join. Interested organizations must complete a form that includes the statement of purpose: “Our goal is safe mobility for all people in the United States of America.” 80

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The League of American Bicyclists. Bicycle Friendly Community Survey data from questions F7 and BMR11. The Alliance for Biking and Walking. Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report. Available at https://bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/2016BenchmarkingReport_ web.pdf. The most recent year reported to either survey was used for this chart and is identified in the Appendix for each city.

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The League of American Bicyclists. Bicycle Friendly Community Survey data from questions F7 and BMR11. The Alliance for Biking and Walking. Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report. Available at https://bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/2016BenchmarkingReport_ web.pdf. The most recent year reported to either survey was used for this chart and is identified in the Appendix for each city.

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See Chapter 4: Show Your Data II: States – 2.7.1 Statewide Plans Supporting Improvements for Pedestrians and Bicyclists.

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National Complete Streets Coalition, National Complete Streets Policy Inventory (retrieved May 2018). Available at https://smartgrowthamerica.org/program/national-complete-streets-coalition/publications/policy-development/policy-atlas/.

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National Complete Streets Coalition, National Complete Streets Policy Inventory (retrieved May 2018). Available at https://smartgrowthamerica.org/program/national-complete-streets-coalition/publications/policy-development/policy-atlas/.

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Vision Zero Network. Vision Zero Cities Map (retrieved May 2018). Available at https://visionzeronetwork.org/resources/vision-zero-cities/. National Safety Council. Road to Zero Membership List (retrieved May 2018). Available at https://nsc.org/Portals/0/Documents/DistractedDrivingDocuments/Driver-Tech/Road%20to%20Zero/RTZ-Coalition-Members.pdf.

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Vision Zero Network. Vision Zero Cities Map (retrieved May 2018). Available at https://visionzeronetwork.org/resources/vision-zero-cities/. National Safety Council. Road to Zero Membership List (retrieved May 2018). Available at https://nsc.org/Portals/0/Documents/DistractedDrivingDocuments/Driver-Tech/Road%20to%20Zero/RTZ-Coalition-Members.pdf.

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National Safety Council. Join the Road to Zero Coalition. Available at https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/get-involved/road-to-zero/join.