Monday, March 30, 2015 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 13
March 23, 2014
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Smart Growth America
Safer Streets, Stronger Economies

Orlando's Complete Streets project is included in a new national survey that shows fewer car crashes and support for businesses among the outcomes of Complete Streets projects.  In a press release issued March 24 by Smart Growth America's National Complete Streets Coalition in Washington, D.C., communities that used a Complete Streets approach to transportation reduced the number of automobile collisions and injuries, and increased the number of people biking, walking, and taking transit.

These projects were inexpensive yet achieved core transportation goals, and were also related to increased employment, higher property values, increased net new businesses, and increased investment from the private sector according to new research released today by Smart Growth America's National Complete Streets Coalition.

Safer Streets, Stronger Economies analyzes data from 37 Complete Streets projects across the country, and explores the outcomes communities got for their investment. Relying on information collected by local departments of transportation and economic development, the new findings show just how good an investment Complete Streets projects can be.

Orlando's Edgewater Drive project was one of the 37 projects included in the research. The road conversion project was designed to calm traffic and make biking and walking easier.

Edgewater Drive acts as the main street for College Park, a neighborhood four miles north of downtown Orlando, FL. When the street was scheduled to be resurfaced in 2001, the community saw an opportunity "to reinvent Edgewater Drive into a vibrant, pedestrian friendly commercial district with cafés and shops."

The newly improved street was clearly safer than before. Total collisions dropped 40 percent, and injuries fell by 71 percent. These safety findings are particularly impressive considering that automobile traffic only decreased 12 percent within a year following the redesign, while bicycle counts surged by 30 percent and pedestrian counts by 23 percent.

As a result, more people want to be on Edgewater Drive. The corridor has seen 77 net new businesses open and 560 new jobs created since 2008. Average daily automobile traffic, which saw a slight dip following project completion, has returned to its original pre-project level and on-street parking use has gone up 41 percent.  Click here for full report: Safer Streets, Stronger Economies.

"The before and after data from transportation departments show that Complete Streets projects can be a tremendously good transportation investment," said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. "Some communities have gotten greater throughput, huge improvements in safety, more people biking and walking, and economic results to boot. Given their inexpensive price tags Complete Streets have to be considered by DOTs for their transportation merits alone, not to mention their health, community, and economic outcomes."

Whether it's planting trees or adding crosswalks, making travel lanes narrower or creating space for people on bikes, hundreds of communities are changing how their streets look and work—and getting a great return on public investment in the process. Read the full findings and learn more at www.smartgrowthamerica.org/safer-streets-stronger-economies.

A webinar was held in conjunction with Tuesday’s release of the report. With over 1,000 people registered for the event, the presentations were so interesting—as the flood of questions attest—and the perspectives will help people everywhere understand these projects better. The recording of Tuesday's event is now available on the website, along with the PowerPoint presentations and some additional recap material.

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.

CONTACT:    Alex Dodds, adodds@smartgrowthamerica.org, 202-207-3355 x112

Central Florida Partnership - Ideas to Results

The Central Florida Partnership is a collaborative of business and civic leaders committed to procuring a better tomorrow for Central Florida's seven counties - Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia. We are thoughtful leaders united by a single, guiding principle - that we have both the power and the responsibility to make change happen.

Working together, through four lines of business – Orlando, Inc. (Regional Entrepreneurship), BusinessForce (Regional Public Policy Advocacy), myregion.org (Regional Research & Resolves) and Leadership Orlando (Regional Leadership) – the Central Florida Partnership is moving "Ideas to Results."

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