Birmingham’s Complete Streets ordinance passes

Birmingham, Alabama, Complete Streets, city council, pedestrian, cyclist
Students from Hemphill Elementary, via Facebook

Roads for everyone! The first priority of the Complete Streets ordinance? Develop a street network that encourages walking, biking and bus transit.

This week the Birmingham City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that requires the city to consider all modes of transportation when roadway projects are being designed.

Birmingham, Alabama, Complete Streets
Complete Streets at work in Philadelphia, PA, via Philly Magazine
What Are Complete Streets?

The ordinance is a part of a transportation and design approach advocated by the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC), an arm of Smart Growth America (SGA). SGA is a national advocacy group that promotes walkable cities.

Just FYI

The NCSC was founded in 2005 by groups like: AARP, the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects,  American Public Transportation Association. Current committee members include: Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, Institute of Transportation Engineers and the National Association of Realtors.

Birmingham Alabama
Via ZypBikeshare

If you check out their website, you’ll read a lot about building community roads that are for everyone. One of the coalition’s goals is to:

” … Direct transportation planners and engineers to consistently design and construct the right-of-way to accommodate all anticipated users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, motorists, and freight vehicles.”

The Blazer Express bus system at UAB. Photo via

Priorities could include: wide sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, bus shelters, crosswalks, street trees and landscaping and green spaces.

Birmingham AL
The Redemptive Cycles Trample riders, via Redemptive Cycles
Pedestrians, Bus Riders And Cyclists, Rejoice!

The National Complete Streets Coalition promotes the development and implementation of policies and professional practices that ensure streets are safe for people of all ages and abilities while balancing the needs of different modes and supporting local land uses, economies, cultures and natural environments.

Birmingham, Alabama, Complete Streets, Freshwater Land Trust, Greater Birmingham
Hunter Garrison of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham talking through Birmingham’s proposed Complete Streets Plan with Libba Vaughn of Freshwater Land Trust.

Many local groups spoke in favor of the proposed policies during the public hearing for the ordinance. They included:

  • AARP of Alabama
  • Birmingham Business Alliance
  • Disability Rights & Resources and the American Heart Association
  • Freshwater Land Trust
  • Lakeshore Foundation
  • Redemptive Cycles
  • REV Birmingham
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • United Way of Central Alabama

Since I’m rooting for enthusiastic cyclists (pedestrians, too) in Birmingham with this, have you seen our latest Instagram spotlight?

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