Lexington wins competitive award to implement safer streets

The City of Lexington is taking a huge step forward in designing streets that prioritize the safety of everyone – especially people walking and bicycling – over high speeds for cars.

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, announced today the winners of a competitive new program intended to help cities make tangible progress toward building safer streets for all of their residents, especially those most vulnerable to being struck and killed while walking or bicycling. Scores of cities are eager to do this, but many quickly discover the plethora of barriers that make it difficult to change years of practice. The Safe Streets Academy will bring together three jurisdictions to explore how to overcome those barriers and develop strategies for improving safety for all users on the street. The City of Lexington, along with the City of Orlando, Florida, and the City of South Bend, Indiana will learn from national experts as well as one another in a collaborative setting as they work to implement safer streets.

Each of the three winning jurisdictions will host one workshop over the course of the nine-month Academy. These interactive workshops will explore various practical topics including proven safety engineering countermeasures, tactical urbanism, creative placemaking, and community engagement. Each jurisdiction will have the opportunity to practice these skills by implementing a pop-up demonstration project on one of their most dangerous corridors. They will also work with the National Complete Streets Coalition to produce a case study based on their demonstration projects and present actionable safety recommendations to their local elected officials.

“The Academy is designed to help communities dig into the details of how to improve traffic safety for all users of the roadway,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “We are excited to work with these jurisdictions in pursuit of streets that are safe for all users regardless of age, ability, income, race, or mode of transportation.”

“The peer to peer training and the demonstration project are great opportunities for our team to become more educated on intersection and corridor safety.  The Safe Streets Academy will help our team to better recognize how place making and context sensitivity play as much if not a more important role in the safety of our streets, roadway intersections and corridors.” Said Scott Thompson,  Senior Transportation Planner, Lexington Area MPO.

The Safe Streets Academy is made possible through a Safe Systems Innovation Grant from the Road to Zero Coalition, led by the National Safety Council in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Road to Zero Coalition is a collaboration of more than 350 organizations committed to eliminating traffic fatalities on our roadways by 2050.

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Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices 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. For more information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, is a non-profit, non-partisan alliance of public interest organizations and transportation professionals committed to the development and implementation of Complete Streets policies and practices. A nationwide movement launched by the Coalition in 2004, Complete Streets is the integration of people and place in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation networks. To date, over 1100 agencies have adopted Complete Streets policies.