Complete Streets

Mayor Pugh Signs Complete Streets Ordinance

IMG_9440.jpg

As of Thursday, December 6th, the Baltimore Complete Streets ordinance is law. Mayor Pugh signed the legislation earlier this week, just days before the bill would have become law automatically.

Over the past two years, a broad coalition was formed to support and promote Complete Streets. The Baltimore Complete Streets Coalition is comprised of over 30 organizations including local groups like Bikemore, The League for People with Disabilities, No Boundaries Coalition and neighborhood associations, statewide organizations like the Maryland Builders Industry Association, and national groups such as AARP, the American Heart Association and Safe Routes to Schools.

This bill is about giving communities the power to work with DOT to build more equitable and healthy transportation infrastructure. When we began this effort, I aimed to set a new national standard for complete streets policies, including answering the imperative to put equity at the core of all transportation measures. So many community leaders and stakeholders have stepped up to build a policy that is truly best in class. Now it's time to work together to implement complete streets to ensure all our communities see real benefits from transportation decisions. - Councilman Ryan Dorsey

The bill received national recognition when the National Complete Streets Coalition named Baltimore’s Complete Streets Ordinance one of 2017’s best initiatives and named Councilman Dorsey a Complete Streets Champion. Complete Streets prioritizes the safety of all people using Baltimore’s streets and prioritizes multi-modal transportation. Complete Streets often have slower speed limits, wide sidewalks and crosswalks, protected bike lanes, bus lanes and shelters, and beautification like trees and plantings. The bill also contains several equity-focused provisions to address the disparities created by decades of structurally racist and car-oriented road design.

Baltimore's Complete Streets ordinance is a remarkable new model for the nation not just because of its strong, direct approach to equity and implementation, but also because of the broad, engaged coalition responsible for its adoption. The National Complete Streets Coalition is proud to recognize Councilman Ryan Dorsey, Bikemore, and the City of Baltimore for their leadership. - Heather Zaccaro Program Manager, National Complete Streets Coalition

Bikemore was an early champion of passing a robust, equity-focused Complete Streets ordinance, working to place it as a priority in the mayor’s transition report and drafting bill language for introduction alongside Councilman Ryan Dorsey.

We’re thrilled that the mayor has signed the legislation into law, and will continue to work over the next few months to ensure implementation is as intended.

None of this work is possible without the support of our volunteers and donors. Thank you!

ICYMI: Big Win for #CompleteStreets

Baltimore-city-council-complete-streets.jpg

We did it. Together, with your support we passed the most progressive Complete Streets Ordinance in the country. It’s a huge win for biking, walking and transit. Thanks to your letters, your testimony and donations, we were able to do something that two years ago people doubted we could achieve. Led by Councilman Ryan Dorsey, lawmakers, city agencies, Bikemore and over 30 Complete Streets coalition members, we demonstrated Baltimore is ready to think differently about how are streets are designed.

Here’s what the bill does:

  • Gives neighbors more input into the process of street design. 


  • Makes sure investments in Complete Streets go to the communities that need them the most. 


  • Mandates progressive standards on street design to keep everyone who uses the road safe from reckless driving. 


Read the entire bill.

Last night while celebrating our victory, a community leader said that Bikemore is “punching above our weight.” Our work is gaining the attention of people across the city and is changing the conversation around how we design streets.

We fought for streets that prioritize your safety and we won. Help us celebrate our victory by making a donation to Bikemore today. Together we are building a force for biking in Baltimore, and we are winning.

 

Complete Streets at the Finish Line

MVIMG_20181010_120558.jpg

Today we’re one step closer to making it the law that streets are designed to prioritize the safety of all people using the street, not just the speed of moving cars — in all Baltimore neighborhoods.

Today, Baltimore City Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee voted favorable with amendments on Bill #17-0102 Complete Streets.

This moves the Complete Streets bill out of committee, to a full city council vote on Second Reader scheduled for Monday, October 15th and Third Reader for Final Passage on Monday, October 29th.

If the bill is voted favorably on October 29th, it will go to Mayor Pugh’s desk for signature.

Once signed, it will be Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s job to begin implementation of the most progressive, equity-focused complete streets ordinance in the country.

If you are interested in attending either city council meeting, they will begin at 5pm. Please bring a state ID.

Background

Councilman Ryan Dorsey and the Baltimore Complete Streets coalition introduced our Complete Streets Ordinance just over a year ago in July 2017.

Since that time, Councilman Dorsey, the Council President’s Office, Councilman Pinkett, and Bikemore have stewarded the legislation through multiple agency meetings, public information sessions, and community meetings.

In March, we received national recognition for our progress when the National Complete Streets Coalition named Baltimore’s Complete Streets Ordinance one of 2017’s best initiatives and named Councilman Dorsey a complete streets champion. In April, we presented at Intersections 2018, the national conference for complete streets.

Subsequent hearings at the Land Use and Transportation Committee brought experts in street design to testify to City Council. A detailed presentation crafted by the Baltimore Complete Streets Coalition highlighted best practices across the country that were included in the bill, as well as identified locations in the bill where we had negotiated compromise with Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

These hearings led to work sessions in September and October where the Land Use and Transportation Committee adopted a series of technical amendments agreed upon by Councilman Dorsey, the coalition, and Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

At the final work session today, October 10th, the Land Use and Transportation Committee voted the bill favorable with amendments, sending it to the full city council for consideration.

Baltimore Complete Streets Recognized Nationally as One of 12 Best Initiatives!

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 1.34.43 PM.png

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, has recognized our new Complete Streets Bill as one of the 12 best Complete Streets initiatives of 2017!

In collaboration with Councilman Ryan Dorsey, the bill we drafted prioritizes the safety of all people using Baltimore’s streets over the speed of moving cars. Complete Streets often have slower speed limits, wide sidewalks and crosswalks, protected bike lanes, bus lanes and shelters, and beautification like trees and plantings. The Baltimore bill also contains several equity-focused provisions intended to address the disparities created by decades of structurally racist and car-oriented road design.

“Passing a comprehensive Complete Streets policy that centers equity is a key component Bikemore’s strategy,” says Bikemore Executive Director Liz Cornish. “Complete Streets is about so much more than bikes, and it’s past time we as a city commit to a policy that improves the health, safety, and mobility of all Baltimore residents. We are honored to have our work recognized by Smart Growth America, even as we recognize that work is just really beginning.”

Smart Growth America recognized Baltimore’s new policy for its focus on equity, implementation and accountability. “After scoring and rating America’s best complete policies for more than five years, we revised our criteria this year to reflect new lessons, particularly the importance of focusing on implementation and equity. We are impressed with the work Councilman Dorsey and Bikemore have done and are happy to feature the Baltimore bill as a leader in these emerging focus areas,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition (a program of Smart Growth America).

Currently, Baltimore City has a Complete Streets resolution, passed in 2010, but that resolution non-binding and is often ignored. Beginning early in 2017, Councilman Dorsey and Bikemore began work building a coalition around Complete Streets, visiting with more than 50 neighborhood groups, and local, state, and national advocacy groups to discuss Complete Streets. The Bill’s first hearing, planned for the Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing on March 21, was cancelled due to snow and has been rescheduled tentatively for April 25 at 5:00PM. The hearing will be televised on Charm TV.

“If we truly wish to improve quality of life for all City residents, we need policies that prioritize disinvested communities and fundamentally change how we engage residents in the transportation planning process,” says Councilman Dorsey. “I’m happy that our work in Baltimore is being recognized. We are proud of it and look forward to working with Mayor Pugh, Council President Young, and my colleagues on the Council to pass and implement Complete Streets. However, legislation is just a start.”

“The real work of getting this bill passed is just beginning. Communities need to have ownership over the legislative process,” Dorsey continued, “for us that means conducting our own outreach with communities that are most directly affected by transportation disparities.”

In addition to being recognized by Smart Growth America, the Baltimore Complete Streets team was selected to present at the National Complete Streets Coalition’s second annual conference, called Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets in Nashville, TN on April 3-4.

And while we've been working on this for over a year, this is really just the start. Over the following months, we're planning to grow and strengthen our coalition, do further outreach with communities that are most directly affected by transportation disparities, and work to get the bill passed. 

But to do this, we need your support. 

Complete Streets Introduced to Council Tonight

BikemoreV1-18.jpg

At tonight’s Baltimore City Council meeting, Councilman Ryan Dorsey will introduce a Complete Streets ordinance. Complete Streets are streets designed to prioritize the safety of all people using the street over the speed of moving cars. This legislation was a priority for Bikemore and a strong part of Councilman Dorsey’s campaign platform.

This will be the first Complete Streets ordinance in the country that is centered around equity — in a deliberate attempt to begin to undo decades of structurally racist planning that has promoted car commuting from surrounding counties over mobility for city residents. 

Over the past year, we have been building a broad coalition supporting Complete Streets. We’ve met with and are proud to have support from a host of community groups, including CASA de Maryland, No Boundaries Coalition, Old Goucher Community Association, and Original Northwood Association. Statewide organizations like Maryland Builders Industry Association have signed on. And, we have national support from groups like the AARP and Safe Routes to School, who recognize the importance of complete streets to aging in place and getting our kids to school. To date, we've met with more than two dozen community associations, a dozen trade groups, national advocacy partners, and key city agencies.

We plan to take our time stewarding this bill toward passage. There will be multiple public work sessions on the legislation, and we will continue our neighborhood tours introducing Complete Streets to residents across the city. Our coalition will grow, and we want your support.

We will be providing updates on the legislation and the growth of our coalition, including a recap of tonight's meeting, at www.baltimorecompletestreets.com

Please visit today and take the pledge to support complete streets in your neighborhood!