Tell your senator, now is the time for Complete Streets!

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Two new bills introduced to Congress by Senators Ed Markey and John Fetterman make Complete Streets a minimum design mandate, redefining our road design standards and ensuring funding for the implementation of Complete Streets projects. Let Congress know these bills can’t wait!

Close-up of Capitol building
Photo by S Chia on Flickr.

The Complete Streets process and approach to road design emphasizes safe access for all road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and transit users, by prioritizing infrastructure that meets the needs of those who have historically been left behind by traditional transportation approaches. Senators Markey and Fetterman have put forward a pair of new bills that would make Complete Streets a minimum design mandate, taking the first steps toward a new safety mindset that will ensure all road users have access to safe, equitable transportation options. Learn more about these two bills below.

Building Safer Streets Act

Earlier this Congress, (just some months and a speaker ago), Senator John Fetterman introduced the Building Safer Streets Act with companion legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Seth Moulton. This bill, introduced on October 30, 2023, aims to tackle America’s road safety crisis by modernizing our nation’s dangerous road design standards that led to over 40,000 fatalities over the past decade. To accomplish this goal, the bill would set new standards for safer streets by reforming the development process for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and redefining how road projects should integrate transit, multimodal, and safety features. (To understand why reforming the MUTCD matters, see our statement on its most recent update.)

Further, the Building Safer Streets Act would streamline FHWA road design practices, require the FHWA to publish new guidance to help develop multimodal streets that work in local contexts, and would no longer allow the value of time metric to be misused to increase dangerous speeds when evaluating project benefits. Ensuring benefits to all communities, the bill would change the Safe Streets for All program to give greater consideration and federal support for small and rural communities.

Complete Streets Act

On January 25, 2024, Senator Ed Markey reintroduced the Complete Streets Act with companion legislation reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Steve Cohen. This bill will provide safe and accessible transportation access for all road users by prioritizing pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users.

To achieve this goal, the Complete Streets Act will ensure that a greater portion of states’ federal highway funding be directed toward the development of a Complete Streets Program. These programs will allow eligible entities throughout the state to utilize program funding for technical assistance and capital improvements to support the implementation of improved sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops. Furthermore, this bill will also require states to incorporate Complete Streets standards into projects that change roadways, including construction and maintenance projects.In addition it pushes for the formal adoption of PROWAG and pushes for enhancements that are cognizant of people with physical, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities.

Help support these bills. Click here to ask your senator to be a cosponsor.

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