Florida DOT Passes Complete Streets Policy

Complete Street story artThe Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has passed a complete streets policy that promotes safety, quality of life, and economic development in Florida, a step that parallels local efforts to encourage complete streets policies requiring communities to design and build streets with all users in mind equally.

Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) staff members participated in FDOT’s recent Community Planning Workshop to join the conversation about how WPHF can support the implementation of Florida’s complete streets policy.

The workshop was attended by more than 90 participants representing FDOT staff from all units, local governments, transit agencies, non-profit organizations, and the regional planning council.  FDOT state leaders delivered a strong message to the participants that FDOT is re-focusing and refining its policies and standards to not only support but require Complete Streets and Multimodal Planning.

The Central Florida FDOT District is following the state’s lead and formally launched their Multimodal Corridor Planning Guidebook at the workshop. The Guidebook is hoped to have a profound effect as FDOT works with the local partners to continue planning and designing for all modes of transportation.

In 2011, WPHF assisted the City of Winter Park in passing its complete streets resolution in partnership with the Healthy Winter Park team. The city is continuing its efforts to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, and WPHF is working to support that effort through leadership, community organizing and education.  For example, Bike/Walk Central Florida (BWCF), a cycling advocacy organization founded and funded by WPHF, also is focused on supporting the passage of complete streets policies in the counties and cities in our area. Lisa Portelli, WPHF Program Director of Community Health, serves on the BWCF Board of Directors.

While maintaining safety and mobility, a complete streets policy that is properly implemented ensures a community’s roads serve the transportation needs of all ages and abilities, including cyclists, freight handlers,  motorists, pedestrians and transit riders. FDOT reports the work to implement this policy has already begun  and is expected to be completed next summer, however full implementation into all its policies and procedures is likely to take years, according to John Philip Moore, FDOT Systems Planner.

Complete streets policies are consistent with the goals of the WPHF Community Health Work Group to support initiatives that encourage safe streets and encourage walking and cycling, Ms. Portelli noted. A model complete streets policy will guide a community’s vision for transportation so all users are considered, and it can complement community needs, like economic development and change the very fabric of a communities, she said.