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National Complete Streets Coalition selects Huntsville to join the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy

Published on September 19, 2018

Huntsville Protected Bike Lane on Spraggins

Huntsville’s work to make streets safer and the region more livable and equitable has now won the city a competitive national award

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, announced Tuesday that the cities of Huntsville, AL, Durham, NC, and Pittsburgh, PA have been selected to participate in the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy.

Through the Academy, a team of 10 staff from Huntsville will hone their skills in using safety countermeasures, creative placemaking, community engagement, and emerging technologies to create safer streets. Each city will also launch a temporary, on-the-ground demonstration project to transform one dangerous streets or intersections into a safer place for people.

“This is the second time Huntsville has earned a coveted place in the Smart Cities Academy, and we look forward to participating again with a focus on safe streets,” said Mayor Tommy Battle.

Part of Huntsville’s growth and livability strategy encourages more pedestrian access and seeks to accommodate new forms of mobility. For example, the City has been experimenting with new technologies to detect when bicyclists approach an intersection. The Smart Cities Academy will help Huntsville learn more about potential applications and traffic calming techniques in areas where more pedestrians and different forms of mobility are desired.

“Through our ongoing BIG Picture planning process, we’ve recognized the need to make sure our streets are serving all users,” said Dennis Madsen, Long-Range Planner for the City of Huntsville. “This is another step toward ensuring that we can safely and efficiently accommodate cars, bikes, pedestrians and transit.  As our City continues to grow, we’ll need to continue to be innovative with our street design.”

Huntsville’s team will join the other two cities for three in-person workshops over the course of the next 10 months, one workshop hosted in each city. They will also participate in six distance learning webinars and work closely with the National Complete Streets Coalition—and with their local communities—to develop their safety demonstration projects.

Last year, the National Complete Streets Coalition worked with three other cities on a similar program: the Safe Streets Academy. Through that Academy, teams from Orlando, FL, South Bend, IN and the Lexington, KY region implemented their own safety demonstration projects. Each of those projects were developed with input from the community and resulted in more pedestrian and bike friendly street designs that slowed car traffic.

This year’s Academy builds off of lessons learned from last year and also introduces a new Smart Cities component to help cities understand how these emerging technologies create new challenges—and opportunities—when it comes to creating safer streets.

“Every death on our roadways is one death too many,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “This program helps cities around the country explore new ways to make their streets safer for people of all ages and abilities and work toward the goal of eliminating deaths on our roads.”

This technical assistance is funded through a Safe System Innovation Grant from Road to Zero, a coalition of more than 800 organizations committed to reducing traffic fatalities in the United States to zero over the next three decades. The coalition holds quarterly meetings to discuss innovative research and strategies and offers tools, resources, and grants to support safer streets nationwide.

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For more information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.


The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, is a non-profit, non-partisan alliance of public interest organizations and transportation professionals committed to the development and implementation of Complete Streets policies and practices. A nationwide movement launched by the Coalition in 2004, Complete Streets is the integration of people and place in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation networks. To date, agencies nationwide have adopted over 1,400 Complete Streets policies.