Euclid Avenue is living up to its HealthLine moniker.
The group leading the charge for complete streets is reporting that money flowed and safety improved from 37 completed projects, including Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue. Completed in 2008, before the city had a complete streets law, the impact of the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project goes beyond the growing figure of $5.8 billion of private investment generated from 110 real estate projects.
When Cleveland tapped state and federal grants of $200 million to build "a new front door” on Euclid, it turns out fewer crashes and injuries resulted—even as biking, walking and transit activity increased.
“Whether it’s planting trees or adding crosswalks, making travel lanes narrower or creating space for people on bikes, hundreds of communities are changing how their streets look and work—and getting a great return on public investment in the process,” said the National Complete Streets Coalition.
Their report, Safer Streets, Stronger Economies [pdf] casts a national spotlight again on the Euclid Corridor, which “created the city’s first bike lane, repaired sidewalks, added streetlights and bus shelters, and planted 1,500 trees.”
Euclid isn’t just nicer looking, it also became a safer place.
“Since (the HealthLine), ridership increased 61 percent, while crashes and injuries among users fell by 24 and 25 percent, respectively,” writes the coalition.
Cleveland’s experience follows trend: 70 percent of projects experienced a reduction in collisions, and in many cases the reduction amount was significant. Approximately 56 percent of projects experienced a reduction in injuries. In some projects where collisions and injuries went down, automobile volumes were essentially unchanged or increased, while pedestrian and bicycle traffic increased.
The 37 complete(d) streets projects also challenge assumptions on cost. The Coalition found that, since most were done in the existing right of way, the average cost was $2.1 million or “less than the average project of $9 million. All cost less than a large arterial (road) on a per mile basis.”
Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening now president of Smart Growth America’s Smart Leadership Institute, noted that complete streets were successful in putting feet on the street in downtown Annapolis.
“It transformed from a sleepy crossroad to where people are taking great, healthy walks all over the place,” he said on a web call this week.