Help Support Complete Streets

Dear Friend,

In December we wrote and asked for your continued support for our Complete Streets efforts in and around Sacramento.  As we use the cool, grey days of an early Sacramento January to plan for the year, the challenges we face appear sharper than ever.

Sacramento County is working on updating its General PlanWALKSacramento has been actively engaged in this process for some time, working to ensure that lofty policy language translates into real change on the ground.  Unfortunately, as of now, it doesn’t.  The County has an extensive network of road widenings in the proposed plan.  Wide, fast six lane roads are difficult and dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists, encourage sprawl and cost too much to build and maintain.  WALKSacramento has therefore called on the County to:

  1. Adopt a flexible policy on road widenings
  2. Set as policy that four lanes are the preferred designated except as exception
  3. Establish a community-based planning process for reviewing proposed road widenings and developing solutions.  Charlotte NC has an excellent six-step process for this.  In July 2009, WALKSacramento organized a two hour seminar at SACOG led by the lead engineer on the Charlotte process.  We need a similar process here.

Please read the attached letter to the County Planning Commission, sent December 31, 2009, for more on our concerns.  It is these concerns, in our local communities as well as around our County, and the kind of effort detailed in the letter, that we need your support for.  Our grant funding generally doesn’t allow this level of policy advocacy.

We need your support to keep up the fight

It’s our partnership with you, our members and friends, has made much of this possible.  As one of our active members says – “WALKSacramento is the go-to organization addressing basic transportation – walking – as well as biking and mass transit – in Sacramento.”  We need your continued involvement – physical, intellectual and financial in 2010.  Are you ready to support WALKSacramento for another year?  We know the answer is YES!!

Your Financial Support is Critical for 2010

Your support helps us provide a strong independent voice on behalf of Complete Streets and walkable communities.  Our voice accomplished a lot in 2009:

Complete StreetsWALKSacramento works for Complete Streets – streets that are safe for all users at all times throughout Sacramento cities and County.

  • WALKSacramento organized and staffs the Complete Streets Coalition, bringing together individuals and organizations to advocate for Complete Streets.  The Coalition meets together monthly bringing partners such as Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, Breathe CA, SACOG, AARP, Sacramento Regional Transit, ECOS, Sacramento Metro Air Quality Mgmt District and others, each organization playing a role in moving the Complete Streets agenda forward.
  • WALKSacramento played a strong role in getting Complete Streets incorporated into the City of Sacramento’s updated General Plan, the Sacramento Transit District’s Master Plan and Complete Streets are in the draft update of the County’s General Plan and Circulation Element.
  • WALKSacramento partnered with the Local Government Commission to co-host the Sacramento Complete Streets Symposium in July 2009, attended by over 250 planners, engineers, advocates, health professionals and others from throughout our region and beyond.  We’ve heard from many participants that this workshop provided them with new direction for policies and initiatives.

Safe Routes to SchoolWALKSacramento works for Complete Streets to and around our neighborhood schools.

  • We are currently working with the County Department of Transportation to identify challenges to students walking (and bicycling) safely to schools in the County’s unincorporated area and to recommend solutions to schools, parents and local agencies.
  • In October we organized and hosted the first Sacramento Safe Routes to School Conference attended by nearly 100 enthusiastic participants – parents, teachers, school board members, transportation engineers and planners.  The conference provided information on local, state and national Safe Routes efforts, review of tips on building local Walk to School programs and how to find funding to implement recommendations.

Partnerships: As you can see, WALKSacramento works with many organizations in leveraging local skills and strengths to shape policy in many ways.

  • Our broad-based Safe Routes to School regional conference planning committee consisted of local child safety advocates, health professionals, several transportation management associations, school districts and others.  The committee is now looking forward to our 2010 Safe Routes conference and trainings.
  • In December 2009 the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published our paper “Partnership Moves Community Toward Complete Streets” – documenting what WALKSacramento achieved in partnership with many community and governmental organizations to make Complete Streets policies a reality.
  • Our Partnership for Active Communities – a project funded by the Active Living by Design program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has born much fruit, including the Complete Streets Coalition mentioned above.

And the work continues

However, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation support for Complete Streets work ended in October 2009 and we are really just beginning now to work to get those great Complete Streets policies implemented on the ground.

Sacramento is considered a national leader in the “Complete Streets” movement.  But, as they say, there is still much to be done — and grant funding for our Complete Streets effort is coming to an end.  Your support will help us keep up our strong independent voice.

Thank you and best regards,

Eric Fredericks, President

Anne Geraghty, Executive Director