Complete Streets Policy -- Great Start, Now Let's Get It Done

While it’s always great to celebrate recognition for a job well done -- and the revised Complete & Green Streets Policy is definitely a job well done -- it would be even better to celebrate being recognized for actually having complete and green streets.  

As you may have seen in City of Evanston newsletters or the Evanston Now article, Smart Growth America recently scored Evanston’s revised Complete & Green Streets Policy at 94.4 points (out of 100) and identified it as the second best policy in Illinois. The 2017 revisions include an implementation framework, metrics and reporting requirements to ensure that complete streets principles (which the original 2014 policy did a decent job of covering) would be incorporated into the planning, design and construction process for rights-of-way and public space projects.

Our policy got an excellent score because it brought an implementation and management process to already sound principles. But that process hasn’t been fully implemented yet. Yes, staff is actively working on how to cover all the bases as efficiently and economically as possible, though no new projects have formally gone through what the policy lays out. The first annual reporting is due in January 2019. It’s really not a surprise that it takes some time to make real change.

If you go to the Smart Growth America link provided in the City of Evanston news release, you’ll note that the focus is on initiatives, meaning actual projects. (The policy scores are in Attachment A, way at the back.) You’ll also note that Smart Growth America identifies seven steps that lead to lasting and successful initiatives. Policy is Step One. Done. Revising processes is Step Two. In progress. Next?

By all means we should lift a glass in celebration of successful updating of our Complete & Green Streets Policy. It’s a good one. Let’s also put some bubbly on ice for the day Smart Growth America identifies an Evanston project in Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 20??

Posted by Barbara Miller