Elected Officials

Case Studies

Cary: Subdivision Ordinances

Through the process of creating its 2001 Land Use Plan, the town of Cary, NC, formulated goals for itself: retain a sense of place, have a more human-scale and pedestrian-oriented environment, avoid strip development along arterials, focus commercial activity into discrete nodes, and increase connectivity. Street connectivity was seen as a way to foster a … Continue reading Cary: Subdivision Ordinances

San Jose: LOS Exemptions for Walking

In the 1960’s, San José, CA, grew rapidly in automobile-oriented growth patterns until roadways became congested and undeveloped land more scarce. San José updated its transportation policy in 2005 to give priority to pedestrians, transit, and bicyclists in specific locations. Those areas included parts of the city zoned for higher densities, planned communities, and transit-oriented … Continue reading San Jose: LOS Exemptions for Walking

Vancouver: EcoDensity

The Vancouver City Council approved and adopted former Mayor Sam Sullivan’s EcoDensity initiative in 2008 in an effort to increase the city’s housing density while reducing its environmental impact. The council’s approval capped a two-year-long process of public and legislative outreach and discussion. The resulting EcoDensity charter outlined the goals of its initiative to overhaul … Continue reading Vancouver: EcoDensity

Washington, DC: Temporary Urbanism Program

The Washington, DC, Office of Planning (OP) launched its Temporary Urbanism initiative in 2010 to help transform vacant spaces into dynamic destinations. The initiative emerged out of a 2009 OP forum that brainstormed ways to “catalyze collaborative action across the creative, green, technology, nonprofit, education, and technology sectors.” The OP’s current Temporary Urbanism program is … Continue reading Washington, DC: Temporary Urbanism Program

San Francisco: Parklet Program

The cities of New York and San Francisco have taken the concept of Park(ing) Day and created official programs to repurpose curbside parking into public space on a longer-term basis. The San Francisco Parklet program seeks applications from business improvement districts, retail stores, and restaurants for the opportunity to design, construct, and maintain the spaces … Continue reading San Francisco: Parklet Program

PA & NJ: Context-Sensitive Design

In 2008, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey departments of transportation, in collaboration with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, published The Smart Transportation Guidebook. The publication provided the framework for updating all other DOT processes around six tenants: Adapt solutions to the context, tailor the approach, plan projects with community collaboration, accommodate alternative transportation modes, … Continue reading PA & NJ: Context-Sensitive Design

New York: Planning for Multiple Modes

In 2009, NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) teamed up to design and implement the M15 Select Bus Service (SBS) line along First and Second Avenues in Manhattan. The SBS project, which was modeled after bus rapid transit to provide subway-like service with buses, aimed to meet goals previously … Continue reading New York: Planning for Multiple Modes

New York: Slow Zones

In November 2011, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) launched its first Neighborhood Slow Zone pilot program in the Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx. The area was selected for its relatively high frequency of serious traffic crashes and for its definable boundaries that could be easily marked for a zone. The goal of … Continue reading New York: Slow Zones

Toronto: Arterial Street Redesigns

Kingston Road, a six-lane highway in Toronto, Ontario, became the subject of several “revisioning” sessions. The first of these visions emerged from a two-week design charette sponsored by Canadian Architect magazine and the City of Toronto in 2006, which recommended an incremental design strategy. The vision include pocket parks connecting crosswalks and medians, and temporary … Continue reading Toronto: Arterial Street Redesigns

New York: Pedestrian Plazas

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) removed two of four vehicular lanes along Broadway between Columbus Circle and Union Square in Midtown Manhattan (a distance of 2 miles) and built a buffered bicycle lane and pedestrian plazas using temporary materials like textured paint and roadway markings in the newly freed roadway space. This … Continue reading New York: Pedestrian Plazas


Create Play Streets

Play Streets programs temporarily close a section of a street off to cars, typically for a morning or a day on a regular, but seasonal, basis, for use as a public playground. Activities are often organized and supervised by volunteers or city workers. Guidance Plan ahead: Contact potential partners and brainstorm activities in winter or … Continue reading Create Play Streets

Create Open Streets

Temporarily closing streets to automobiles and organizing public activities to encourage healthier transportation and living habits. Guidance Build political, financial, and community support early on. Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance used foundation funding to take local officials to cities with Open Streets initiatives. Once they experienced the event firsthand, Chicago officials started championing a car-free event … Continue reading Create Open Streets

Demonstrate Street Improvements

Spearheaded by the Better Block Project, this strategy is a collaborative effort to design and install a one-day demonstration of pedestrian-oriented streetscape improvements along an urban block. Typical demonstrations set up temporary pedestrian plazas, pop-up businesses in vacant storefronts, street trees and greenery in planters, bike lanes, additional street lighting, and (rented) sidewalk benches, tables, … Continue reading Demonstrate Street Improvements

Create a Pedestrian Wayfinding System

Pedestrian wayfinding systems are navigational systems that help pedestrians determine where they are and where they need to go to reach a destination. Traditionally consisting of signs, wayfinding systems can now also involve GPS systems, web connectivity, and mobile technology. Wayfinding systems can be designed and implemented formally by municipalities and business improvement districts, or … Continue reading Create a Pedestrian Wayfinding System

Seek Recognition

Applying for a Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) designation, managed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, provides national recognition for your city’s efforts to encourage and improve walking. Guidance Create an application committee with members from multiple agencies and backgrounds, including planners, engineers, law-enforcement officials, and advocates To find information requested by the application, reach … Continue reading Seek Recognition

Create a SmartTrips Program

A SmartTrips program is a direct, individualized marketing program that encourages neighborhood residents to switch from car-based transportation to transit, biking, and walking. Programs use various approaches, such as direct mailings, email and website outreach, text messages, blogs, social media, bike delivery of materials, and free events to educate and encourage residents to change their … Continue reading Create a SmartTrips Program

Assess Pedestrian Projects, Plans or Policies with Health Impact Assessment

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that analyzes the potential health impacts of a proposed plan, project, or policy that is typically outside the public health realm, such as transportation or land use decisions. An HIA provides evidence to help health be considered in that decision-making process. An HIA usually suggests ways of mitigating, … Continue reading Assess Pedestrian Projects, Plans or Policies with Health Impact Assessment

Adopt a Complete Streets Policy

While traditional traffic engineering designs streets primarily for vehicles, a Complete Streets policy directs transportation planners and engineers to design and operate rights-of-way for safe access for everyone on the street, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Guidance Build a Complete Streets coalition with transportation planners and engineers, public health professionals, public officials, … Continue reading Adopt a Complete Streets Policy

Incorporate PROWAG into Pedestrian Policies

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires ADA transition plans for jurisdictions. The Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right Of Way (proposed PROWAG) provide technical specifications required to make walking infrastructure accessible to people of all abilities. Once the Access Board issues its final rule, the Department of Justice and the Department … Continue reading Incorporate PROWAG into Pedestrian Policies

Use Measurable Performance Indicators in Pedestrian Policies

Measurable performance indicators are crucial elements of evaluating the effectiveness of a policy. Policies should specify goals and objectives for each initiative and create a set of indicators, or performance measures, that can be tracked to assess the effectiveness of that initiative. A monitoring program should also set a regular schedule for data collection and … Continue reading Use Measurable Performance Indicators in Pedestrian Policies


Livable Communities for All Ages Webinar

America Walks is excited to partner with AARP for its first webinar of 2016. To meet its commitment to creating great places for people of all ages, AARP has developed several resources that should be in the toolbox of any walking advocate. AARP’s Jeanne Anthony will walk participants through two of their resources, the Livability … Continue reading Livable Communities for All Ages Webinar

Bringing It Home – the Call to Action and Elected Officials

America Walks and the National League of Cities was excited to be able to offer a webinar on how local elected officials can take advantage of the recently released Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities.  The webinar features a briefing on the Call to Action from the lead scientific writer of the document and … Continue reading Bringing It Home – the Call to Action and Elected Officials

Walkability: The Health and Wellness Equation

Walking is more than basic transportation and recreation; it is the key to health, longevity and affordable living. If we want more equitable communities–accessible–then walking must become a natural activity again. We are all change agents. In this session, Dan Burden, one of the earliest pioneers in North America’s walkability movement, who is credited with … Continue reading Walkability: The Health and Wellness Equation

Designing Places for People Webinar

On June 23, America Walks held the second webinar in the “Walking College” webinar series.  “Designing Places for People” takes a deeper look into the design and implementation of walkable communities.   Dan Burden, Director of Innovation and Inspiration with Blue Zones, has worked in 3,500 communities to transform streets and public spaces into livable, walkable … Continue reading Designing Places for People Webinar

New Webinar- Institutionalizing the Change

Webinar Title: “Institutionalizing the Change: How to Make Walking Routine” Date and Time: Wednesday, July 15th at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern Register Here About the Webinar The third webinar in America Walks’ “Walking College” series reviews public policy and private marketplace strategies to increase walkability. Just like the others in the series, this webinar is … Continue reading New Webinar- Institutionalizing the Change

Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets Webinar

On May 22, 2015 America Walks held the webinar, “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets.”  This webinar is part of the “Take Action at the Local Level” webinar series that calls upon individuals to build community and institutional support for walkable design. Barbara McCann, former Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and now … Continue reading Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets Webinar

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper- And Healthier Webinar Report

On April 23, 2015, America Walks offered a webinar titled “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper And Healthier.” Transforming the built environment to improve health outcomes can take years, if not decades. The webinar focused on short term, low cost, yet high impact strategies for improving streets, public spaces, and buildings across the country that can lead to … Continue reading Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper- And Healthier Webinar Report

America Walks Releases Local Elected Official Webinar Report

America Walks is pleased to offer the report below as a follow-up to our successful February 5, 2015 Webinar “Local Elected Officials Walk the Walk.”  The presentation generated excellent questions and discussion and we hope the conversation will continue to develop.  To find a video recording of the webinar click HERE.  You can also find … Continue reading America Walks Releases Local Elected Official Webinar Report

Local Elected Officials Walk the Walk

Mayors, City Council representatives, and County Board members are in a unique position to influence public policy and funding priorities to create walkable communities. As we will learn in this Webinar, they can utilize the “bully pulpit” to focus enormous media and community attention on a particular issue. They can also educate and empower citizens … Continue reading Local Elected Officials Walk the Walk

Complete Streets From Policy Adoption to Implementation in New Jersey

This webinar covered complete streets, in general and in New Jersey, discussing every topic from complete streets policy adoption to implementation. In addition to highlighting successful municipal and county case studies focused on complete streets implementation, this webinar highlighted strategies on getting complete streets polices passed at the municipal level and creating elderly-friendly communities. 2014-06-12 … Continue reading Complete Streets From Policy Adoption to Implementation in New Jersey