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AARP AARP States Alabama Livable Communities

No car? No problem! Bringing Complete Streets to Birmingham

Birmingham's streets are safer and more accessible for all

Birmingham residents and visitors are benefiting from streets that are safer and more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, and people of all ages and abilities, due to the efforts of AARP Alabama and our community partners.

For any community to thrive, streets must be as safe as possible for all who use them. Dangerous By Design, an initiative of Smart Growth America, found that the Birmingham-Hoover metro area streets were very dangerous for pedestrians in their 2017 report. The metro area was ranked 13th in the nation for pedestrian deaths from 2008 through 2017.

AARP Alabama decided to take action in partnership with multiple community organizations, including UAB, United Way of Central Alabama, and the Jefferson County Department of Health. Working with the newly-elected mayor, Randall Woodfin, and the Birmingham City Council, the organizations advocated for passage of the Complete Streets ordinance.

The Birmingham City Council approved the ordinance in 2018, leading to multiple initiatives and projects that would go on to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on the city's streets in the ensuing years, with safer and more visible crosswalks and bike lanes implemented.

AARP Alabama and our volunteers also continue to work with the city to advance projects that improve safe access to public transportation in the city. When a new bus terminal was proposed for an inaugural rapid transit line, AARP volunteers performed an AARP Walk Audit which pointed out accessibility problems with the proposed site. The city's transit system decided to relocate the terminal to a more accessible location after receiving this input.

Birmingham has made significant improvements to increase the safety of city streets since passage of the Complete Streets ordinance five years ago. According to the most recent survey, Dangerous By Design 2022, the Birmingham metro area has dropped to 34th in the nation for pedestrian deaths.

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