Two Latino-Populated Cities Named among ‘Best Complete Streets Initiatives’

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Bonita Springs, Fla. (31% Latino) and Las Cruces, N.M. (60% Latino) were among 12 cities recognized in “The Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017” report by the National Complete Streets Coalition of Smart Growth America.

Complete Streets policies direct transportation planners and engineers to design streets with all users in mind. That includes people who walk, bike, take public transit, carpool or drive.

This, in turn, helps address chronic disease, equitable economic growth, and reduced car dependence.

Best-Complete-StreetsThe National Complete Streets Coalition sought exemplary examples of Complete Streets and advocates in 2017. Using their 100-point grading system, they selected the 12 Best Complete Streets initiatives.

In many communities, roads and streets are barriers to access employment, education, healthy food, parks, and health care. Latino neighborhoods in particular have fewer sidewalks and street lights and residents face safety concerns ranging from crime and stray dogs to speeding cars and harassment from police.

The 12 best Complete Streets show how to tackle such barriers.

Las Cruces, N.M.

Here’s an excerpt from the report about this city’s Complete Streets initiative:

plaza las cruces
Kids play in the new plaza in downtown Las Cruces, N.M. (via Smart Growth America)

“The key to its success? A Downtown Master Plan championed by local residents, business people, elected officials, and city staff that recognizes the strong connection between land use and transportation. Originally adopted back in 2004 and updated in 2013, and again in 2016, the Downtown Master Plan is a living document that reflects the community’s vision.”

The project included recently opening of Plaza de Las Cruces, a public gathering space located in the center of the town.

The city narrowed the travel lanes and widened the sidewalks along surrounding streets which has strengthened access to the plaza and the transportation network as a whole.

Bonita Springs, Fla.

Here’s an excerpt from the report about this city’s Complete Streets initiative:

“Motivated to improve accessibility and safety in its downtown area, the City of Bonita Springs worked with the both the community and private sector to create a more people-friendly downtown area.”

“Through its Downtown Improvements Project, the city created a better connected street network for people walking, biking, and taking transit. The city also incentivized development that promotes job growth and affordable housing.”

Download “The Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017” report to learn more.

Next Steps

The National Complete Streets Coalition recently revised their 100-point grading system to include vulnerable users.

That means next year’s “The Best Complete Streets Initiatives” report will highlight communities that are addressing equity and implementation.

Currently, the Coalition is seeking nominees for examples of communities seeking to engage public health agencies in the development, implementation, and evaluation of Complete Streets related-policy for their “Complete Streets and Public Health” recognition.

Know any good nominees? Let us know and we’ll share them with Smart Growth America!

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Pedestrians survive when hit by a car at 40 MPH

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