Two New York communities brought home the highest rankings in the nation for their efforts to make our streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them. Ogdensburg and Troy were ranked by the National Complete Streets Coalition as having the nation’s top two complete streets policies adopted in 2014.
Each year Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition evaluates newly adopted Complete Streets policies on ten ideal elements. As outlined in Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014, Ogdensburg’s and Troy’s policies were chosen from 74 policies adopted by communities nationwide in 2014. Ogdensburg, a city of 11,000 persons located on the St, Lawrence River in northern New York, had the highest scoring policy of the year, with 92.8 points out of 100. Troy, located in the Capital Region and home to 50,000 people, had the second-highest scoring policy with 91.2 points.
Nationwide, 712 jurisdictions in 48 states now have Complete Streets policies in place. A complete streets policy promotes the idea all roads and streets in a community should accommodate not only automobile traffic, but also pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. Many of the improvements these policies prescribe include adding sidewalks and bike lanes to streets and roads. These amenities both encourage a shift to more active transportation and transit usage among people who primarily use their automobiles and increase road safety for everyone, regardless of whether they bike, drive, walk, or take transit.
Currently, New York State has the worst traffic fatality rate in the nation for bicyclists and pedestrians. Statewide complete streets legislation was adopted in 2011, but many road projects fall out of state jurisdiction. These local policies, therefore, help to connect the dots between local- and state-sponsored infrastructure improvements. Congratulations, Ogdensburg and Troy!