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Our Laws_Your Life: Safe Streets Act passage would have far-reaching benefits

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We received an email alert the other day from Smart Growth America, a national organization that builds coalitions for the purpose of bringing smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. They were advocating that "Spring break is a great time to meet with your Senators or Representative in your community and ask them to support the Safe Streets Act (S. 2004/H.R. 2468), which encourages communities to consider safety improvements for all users in transportation project planning."

By ensuring that communities use proven design elements the authors of the Act argue that these elements will improve the safety of all roadway users, including motorists as well as people walking, biking and taking public transit. Per the Smart Growth website, "These measures reduce pedestrian crashes: 88 percent reduction with sidewalks; 69 percent with hybrid beacons; and 39 percent with medians. Some measures improve safety for all users by reducing speeds in residential areas and on Main Streets."

It's all good...as the saying goes. And we propose another powerful yet under-reported argument for this Act: That it's good for business too.

The Urban Land Institute's recently published report, Infrastructure 2014_Shaping the Competitive City, gives compelling evidence that communities that invest in infrastructure are much more likely to attract real estate developers and investors. Two hundred forty-one public sector leaders in local and regional government and private organizations as well as 202 private developers, investors, leaders and advisers participated in their survey. The quality of a city's infrastructure (such as transportation and telecommunication) was the top driver for real estate development of those surveyed (public and private sectors). This driver trumped by a wide margin the more conventional reason, the tax structure (development incentives and ongoing tax burdens) as well as regulations that encourage or discourage development.

When drilled down further, the survey respondents listed '"improved pedestrian infrastructure" along with improved transit (bus and rail) and improved roads and bridges as their top three infrastructure priorities.

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To cosponsor H.R. 2468, contact Jill Harrelson, Legislative Assistant, Office of Congresswoman
Doris Matsui at (202) 225-7163 or jill.harrelson@mail.house.gov; or John Miceli, Legislative Director, Office of Congressman David Joyce at (202) 225-5731 or john.miceli@mail.house.gov.

To cosponsor S. 2004, contact Stef Claus, Legislative Correspondent, Office of Senator Mark
Begich at (202) 224-9546 or stef_claus@begich.senate.gov; or Georgia Gann, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Brian Schatz at (202) 224-3934 or georgia_gann@schatz.senate.gov

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