The New York Department of State requires local planning boards and zoning board of appeals members to obtain four hours of code related training every year. This helps prepare local boards for decisions on local land use and community functions. There is an existing walkable communities course - covering local zoning tools to create requirements for “sidewalks, pathways, and other pedestrian facilities,” but nothing focused on active transportation (specifically biking) in the context of complete streets. The intent of this course was to provide a hands-on resource to educate NYS communities on the benefits of active transportation and complete streets.
UCS collaborated with the New York Bicycling Coalition to develop a comprehensive workshop curriculum for active transportation and complete streets. this included modules on infrastructure, policy, integrated transportation systems, implementation, measurement and education. In addition to instructional materials, UCS developed a series of interactive activities to spur discussion, highlight unique community opportunities and reinforce key topics.
Since the launch of this course, UCS principal Dan Suraci, AICP has personally conducted more than 30 of these free workshops in communities throughout New York State including Piermont, Endicott, Croton-on-Hudson, Gouverneur and more. As a direct outcome of these trainings, some communities are actively working towards the development of a local complete streets policy and or taking broader action to advance complete street tactics. To date the program has reached more than 350 planners, engineers and elected officials!