Monday, December 21, 2015

BikeWalkLee Highlights Benefits of FDOT's Complete Streets Implementation Plan for Lee MPO Board

The Dec. 18th MPO Board meeting also included discussion of the new FDOT Complete Streets Implementation Plan.

Report by Darla Letourneau

At the MPO Board meeting on Dec. 18th, BikeWalkLee's representative Darla Letourneau congratulated FDOT District 1 Secretary Billy Hattaway and his team, along with Smart Growth America, for an outstanding implementation plan for its Complete Streets policy announced in Sept. 2014.  This Plan, when fully implemented by the end of 2017, will transform the way FDOT does road designs and conducts business.   

Not only will the Plan update the 10 key manuals and guides that state engineers use to design roads, but it will also be updating the "Green Book" that is used as the bible by local engineers.  The plan will provide not only the state but the locals with more tools for implementing complete streets and designing our roads for bike/ped safety.  Secretary Hattaway, who also spoke at the meeting, announced that FDOT was developing a Complete Streets Handbook that will also be a helpful tool at the local level.  In addition, FDOT will be providing training opportunities for state and local staff and their consultants.  Letourneau urged the local jurisdictions take full advantage of this opportunity.

The FDOT Plan is an example for what it means to implement a complete streets policy.  As Secretary Hattaway said to the Board last year when the FDOT Complete Streets Policy was announced, the key to success with complete streets is not the policy statement, but rather changing the rules that make it happen on the ground.

Five of the Lee County local agencies/jurisdictions have adopted complete streets policies, but not much has happened in terms of incorporating those principles into the administrative codes, Land Development Codes, and practices of everyday business in the transportation world.

The FDOT Plan clearly demonstrates that complete streets is not just about adding more sidewalks and bike's about changing the mindset and the way we plan and design all of our roads so that they're safer for everyone, including pedestrians and cyclists.  

BikeWalkLee challenged the local jurisdictions to follow the FDOT Plan's implementation framework to develop their own complete streets implementation plans.  Secretary Hattaway mentioned that one of the keys to FDOT's success in developing its Plan was the assistance from Smart Growth America.  As a result of that positive experience, BikeWalk Central Florida is bringing in the Smart Growth America team to help them with the local implementation plan for their area, which includes Orlando.  Hattaway mentioned that this was an option for other communities to consider.

Not only is FDOT focused on complete streets, the new federal legislation (FAST) has a requirement for the first time that states and MPOs must consider all users of the roadway when designing and building projects (e.g. complete streets approach).

Letourneau stated that Florida has never had a better shot at reversing its reputation as the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists, and urged the local jurisdictions and agencies to work with FDOT and other stakeholders to make the most of this opportunity. 

 Below are links to documents and previous BikeWalkLee blogs about FDOT's Complete Streets Policy:

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