READING, PA (April 12, 2016) – In 2015, the City of Reading made a formal commitment to safer streets that work for everyone by passing a Complete Streets policy. Today, this policy was named the nation’s best from 2015.
The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015, an annual ranking from Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition released today, evaluated almost 80 Complete Streets policies passed in 2015. Reading’s policy scored an unprecedented perfect 100, the first time any policy from any community has ever done so.
The Hawley and Myrtle Quier Fund of Berks County Community Foundation provided a grant of $10,000 to the City of Reading to support a Complete Streets policy workshop, which resulted in the city adopting a local policy on Aug. 11, 2015.
“The Complete Streets workshop drew a cross-sector of our community to talk about safe routes for bikes, children, people with disabilities, public transit, and motor vehicles,” said Heidi Williamson, Community Foundation vice president for programs and initiatives. “It was their input and collaboration that led to this great national honor.”
For years, the Community Foundation has supported initiatives that, to be successful, require a policy approach such as Complete Streets. Grants to organizations such as the Reading Bike Hub, the Berks Area Mountain Biking Association, and Safe Routes to School, as well as community projects like walking trails and walking school buses, have helped make transportation in our communities safer, Williamson said.
“By adopting a Complete Streets policy, the City of Reading is taking a proactive approach to creating safe transportation options for its residents, whether they walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive on city streets,” Williamson said.
“We work with communities across the country on Complete Streets policies, and we show how strong policy language can make streets safer or feel more welcoming,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “Reading totally got it. They understood how policy can shape the feel of a community and took it to heart. The fact that their policy scored a perfect 100 is proof of that.”
Nationwide, about 900 Complete Streets policies have been passed by more than 850 separate jurisdictions, including municipalities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, state agencies, and states. For information about this year’s winning policies, evaluation criteria, and the full rankings: https://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/best-complete-streets-policies-of-2015.
Governor Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, will be the keynote speaker at Berks County Community Foundation’s sold-out “Consider It Dinner” at Albright College on May 10, 2016. Governor Glendening will address how a Complete Streets policy, among other strategies, can help tackle economic issues in Reading and its suburbs.
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Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for, and leading coalitions to bring better development 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 additional information, visit https://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/completestreets.
Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing charitable funds aimed at improving the quality of life in Berks County. More information is available at www.bccf.org.
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