Fairfield's newly endorsed policy—designed to help plan a better street environment for all types of users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public-transit riders, and motorists—was ranked seventh nationally in Smart Growth America's “Best Complete Streets Policies of 2018.” This annual evaluation of U.S. towns and cities places equal emphasis on policy and implementation, and also measures the degree to which the benefits are shared by low-income residents and communities of color.
Endorsed by the Fairfield Board of Selectmen in 2018, the Fairfield Complete Streets Policy was written over a period of three years by volunteers of the Town’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee's Complete Streets subcommittee.
According to subcommittee members William Pollack, Laura OBrien, and Ann Katis, "The policy is a tool to help guide Fairfield to change the way it looks at transportation. This is a commitment to providing safe access to destinations for everyone regardless of age, ability, income, race, ethnicity, or mode of travel. We are very pleased to be recognized, and excited for the future of transportation planning in Fairfield with continued support from the Board of Selectmen and town departments."
According to Smart Growth America, complete-streets improvements not only make cities and towns safer, but also more livable and walkable, leading to healthier communities, revitalized neighborhoods, and higher property values. These policies also provide better access to services for both seniors and children, who are less likely to drive and are often the most vulnerable in our communities.
Joining Fairfield in the top ten were larger cities including Cleveland Heights, Ohio, scoring the highest honors at number one; Des Moines, Milwaukee, and Baltimore. Connecticut’s only other representative in the top ten was Madison.
“These polices are urgently needed,” said National Complete Streets Coalition director Emiko Atherton in a press release. “The number of people struck and killed while walking has increased by 35 percent in the last decade nationally, at the same time that overall traffic fatalities have been going down. The good news is that we already know the solution: designing and building streets that are safe for everyone who needs to use them. A strong complete streets policy is the first critical step toward making that a reality across the country, and we applaud these ten communities for their hard work to move the ball forward for their residents.”
The photo, which was taken at the corner of Arising Street and Kings Highway East, shows some of the new sidewalks and other improvements that are part of the Kings Highway Pedestrian Improvements Project and examples of Complete Streets enhancements.
From left to right: Mike Tetreau – First Selectman, Bill Hurley – Town Engineering Manager, Laura OBrien – Vice Chair of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and member of its Complete Streets subcommittee, and Bill Pollack – Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee Member and Chair of the Complete Streets subcommittee.
Ann Katis – Member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and Complete Streets subcommittee, and Keith Gallinelli - Chair of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee were unable to join the photo.