Connecticut DOT Adopts ‘Complete Street’ Criteria

The Connecticut Department of Transportation recently implemented new “Complete Streets” design criteria that the agency plans to incorporate into all of its surface roadway projects going forward.

[Above image via the Connecticut DOT]

A “Complete Street” is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of roadway users of all ages and abilities. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, and motorists; it includes children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

The agency said this new design criteria expands on its “Complete Street” policy, which ensures that every roadway project includes a focus on pedestrian and bicyclist facilities and public transportation operations to create stronger intermodal transportation networks and improve safety.

The Connecticut DOT’s new ‘Complete Streets’ design criteria focuses on three areas to improve safety and mobility for all roadway users:

  • Pedestrian facilities – includes sidewalks, shared use paths, or side paths on both sides of the roadway.
  • Bicycle facilities – includes paved outside shoulders, bike lanes, separated bike paths, or shared use paths on both sides of the roadway.
  • Transit provisions – includes crosswalks, shelters, benches, and other ways to make existing or proposed transit stops more accessible.

The agency added that if any of its transportation projects does not meet those three criteria, Connecticut DOT’s chief engineer is required to issue a formal design exemption.

“While this change may sound technical, it is a big deal for improving the safety of our transportation network,” noted Garrett Eucalitto, Connecticut DOT’s commissioner, in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to break down barriers to transportation and make Connecticut roadways more accessible for everyone.”

[Editor’s note: In March 2022, the Federal Highway Administration sent a report to Congress detailing the agency’s commitment to “advance widespread implementation” of the “Complete Streets design model” to help improve safety and accessibility for all users. That report – entitled “Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model: A Report to Congress on Opportunities and Challenges” – identifies what FHWA calls “five overarching opportunity areas” that will guide the agency as it moves ahead with efforts to increase “Complete Streets.”]

“Utilizing ‘Complete Streets’ design criteria is just one of the many ways we’re working to make Connecticut safer for all roadway users,” noted Scott Hill, the agency’s chief engineer and bureau chief of engineering and construction.

“This change will solidify and ensure that pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety is incorporated into the billions of dollars’ worth of projects we have planned in our capital program,” he added.

Several state departments of transportation have implemented similar “Complete Street” initiatives over the last several years.

In February 2021, the South Carolina Department of Transportation adopted what it called a “wide-ranging” Complete Streets policy for the state-owned highway system.

That policy requires the South Carolina DOT to work with the state’s regional transportation planning partners and regional transit providers to identify and include walking, bicycling, and transit needs as part of their regional visioning plans.

The California Department of Transportation unveiled a similar “complete streets” policy for all new transportation projects it funds or oversees in December 2021 in order to provide “safe and accessible options” for people walking, biking and taking transit.

Meanwhile, in October 2022, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued a new version of its “Complete Streets” roads and highways manual; a revision that represents the first update in more than 20 years to Kentucky’s pedestrian and bicycle travel policy.

Additionally, in January, Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed a legislative package allowing the New York State Department of Transportation to provide more fiscal support for municipal ‘Complete Streets’ projects. Under the new legislation, the state’s contribution to the non-federally funded portion of complete street projects will increase to 87.5 percent, which will help municipalities to implement these street designs.

MBTA Develops, Adopts Comprehensive Vision Statement

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority recently issued a comprehensive “vision statement” outlining the agency’s values, goals, and metrics that will help it improve safety, service, equity, sustainability, and culture.

[Above photo by MBTA]

The MBTA – a division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation – said it developed this “vision statement” via detailed collaboration with staff and stakeholders.

“Thanks to input from MBTA employees and our valued partners within transportation advocacy organizations, we have new strategic goals which underscore our commitment to improving the MBTA to make it safer, more reliable, resilient, and equitable,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca in a statement.

“We intend to bring a new level of transparency, public engagement, and capital investment to the MBTA, and we will succeed with workforce investments, collaboration, and decisions that prioritize safety,” she added.

[Editor’s note: Fiandaca plans to step down as MassDOT secretary and CEO in September. Monica Tibbits-Nutt, the agency’s undersecretary, will take over as acting transportation secretary.]

The main goals MBTA has incorporated within its vision statement are:

  • Empower and support staff to develop a culture which prioritizes and promotes safety.
  • Modernize assets to improve connectivity while ensuring MBTA property is maintained in a state of good repair.
  • Ensure transparent decision making so the experiences and perspectives of MBTA staff and riders are accounted for.
  • Retain, attract, and invest in a diverse and qualified workforce that represents MBTA ridership.
  • Support regional vitality by providing riders with dependable, frequent, and accessible service.
  • Increase environmental sustainability and resilience within the state’s transit systems.
  • Increase the percentage of transit trips in the region by attracting new riders and retaining existing riders via a dependable, frequent, and accessible service.
  • Communicate openly about costs and revenues needed to support current services and for future expansion.

“We are committed to providing a safe, reliable, and accessible transportation system for Massachusetts,” said MBTA General Manager Phil Eng.

“We are listening to the feedback of our riders and stakeholders, and we are using that feedback to shape our vision and our roadmap. It is only with them that we can make this mission a reality,” he pointed out. “We know we sometimes face challenges, but we are confident that we can overcome them. We are committed to making the MBTA a public transportation system that everyone can rely on.”

Eng noted that MBTA plans to finalize metrics for tracking progress towards those goals in the coming months.

“We believe these goals will help keep us focused,” noted Lynsey Heffernan, MBTA’s assistant general manager for policy and transit planning. “We’re serving vibrant and diverse communities with rich history and culture who deserve to be able to rely on us for public transit services. The more in tune we are with our collective vision, the more likely we will be able to deliver on that vision.”

Environmental News Highlights – August 30, 2023


USDOT Hosting Four-Part Pedestrian Webinar -AASHTO Journal

FHWA Issues $196M to Support Fish Passage Projects -AASHTO Journal

Half the nation’s wetlands just lost federal protection. Their fate is up to states. -The Oregon Capital Chronicle

Federal court pauses Uinta crude-by-rail line construction -Progressive Railroading

Biden’s infrastructure building boom is missing one thing: Workers -NBC News



Using future, not just historical data projections could make state, local infrastructure designs more resilient -Route Fifty

The Importance of Hydrogen in a Sustainable Energy Economy -The Good Men Project

NYC Congestion Pricing Board Tackles Tough Job of Deciding Who’ll Be Exempt –CityLab

Delaware County, PA confronts climate crisis with its 1st-ever sustainability plan -WHYY Radio

Austin transit experts detail changes to come in land use, urban density -KXAN-TV


Is nuclear energy the answer to a sustainable future? Experts are divided –CNBC

EPA Cracks Down on Companies for Selling Illegal Auto Parts that Avoid Pollution ControlsEPA (media release)

HDOT installing dust screens around Lāhainā Town -Hawai’i Department of Transportation (media release)

EPA Joins Minnesota Leaders to Highlight Climate Pollution Reduction Grants -EPA (media release)



Colorado air regulators sued over environmental justice rules -Denver Post

Electric cars face ‘punitive’ fees, new restrictions in many states –Politico


University of Minnesota launches environmental justice center to help underserved communities -Sahan Journal

Indigenous Environmental and Climate Justice Series: Indigenous Climate Action -Urban Land Institute

Maximizing Equity in Managed Lane Planning -Minnesota Department of Transportation (blog)

Is Environmental Justice at a Crossroads? Three Issues to Watch in Fall 2023 -National Law Review



A need for green: Cities look to trees to improve health, climate justice -Route Fifty

Goats employed by Enbridge to help control invasive species –CKPGToday

CT, RI wind farm gets federal decision on environmental plan -CT Insider

US Army Corps of Engineers Conducts Vegetation Management to Protect Piping Plovers and Control Invasive Species -The 1014


New Goals for Carbon Neutrality Inform Choice for Olympics Locations –PEW

Environmentalists say inland port site threatens Great Salt Lake -KSTU-TV


How Bad Has Ride-Hailing Been for Cities? –CityLab

Vermont Transportation Agency awards $4M in bike and pedestrian path grants -WCAX-TV

Why Can’t You Bike Over the Bay Bridge Into Downtown San Francisco? -The San Francisco Standard

Houston Metro working on solar-powered fans at bus stops, with plans to install 50 prototypes -Houston Chronicle

Cambridge, Massachusetts, legalizes sidewalk electric vehicle charging -WCVB-TV

Charlotte becoming friendlier to pedestrians –QnotesCarolinas

FDOT officials educate University of Florida students to set a different pace for pedestrian safety -WCJB-TV

New safety features at Harlingen bike trails -KVEO-TV

Denver’s top noise contributor is its airports, study finds -Axios Denver

Last Safe Streets Road Show of season welcomes Spanish-speaking Milwaukeeans -WTMJ-TV

KDOT to host Active Transportation Summit in McPherson Sept. 20 to 22 -Kansas DOT (media release)


Availability of Data on Allocations of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Allowances to Existing Electricity Generating Units -EPA (Notice of data availability)

Good Neighbor Environmental Board -EPA (Notice of meeting)

National Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee; May 2023 Meetings -Coast Guard (Notice of availability of recommendations and request for comments)

Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks for Model Years 2027-2032 and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans for Model Years 2030–2035; Correction -NHTSA (Notice of proposed rulemaking; Correction)

Public Hearing for Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks for Model Years 2027–2032 and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans for Model Years 2030–2035 -NHTSA (Notice of public hearing)

Proposed National Guidance for Industry on Responding to Munitions and Explosives of Concern in U.S. Federal Waters -U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System (Notice of availability; request for comments)

Consolidated Port Approaches Port Access Route Studies (CPAPARS) Final Notice -Coast Guard (Notification)