By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 09, 2019 at 10:01 AM

In a ranking of the best Complete Streets Policies of 2018, the non-profit, non-partisan National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America placed Milwaukee third, noting that:

"Milwaukee’s policy earned 60 points – it’s a solid policy with all of the basics ... notable for emphasizing streets that reflect their surrounding context and creating a strong committee responsible for implementation that is made up of both city staff and people from outside organizations."

Mayor Tom Barrett signing the Complete Streets policy into law last October. (PHOTO: City of Milwaukee)

According to the City of Milwaukee website, "Complete Streets integrate people and place by making it safe, enjoyable, and convenient to walk, bike, take transit or simply experience our streets and public spaces – no matter one’s age or ability.

"There is no singular design for a Complete Street; a quiet residential street may already function well for all people, whereas a busy commercial corridor may require wider sidewalks, curb extensions, and protected bike lanes. A Complete Streets approach integrates people and place into all phases of a project, from planning and design through construction."

The ranking celebrates Milwaukee’s – and the other cities’ – dedication and work toward designing and building streets that not only accommodate motor vehicles, but also encourage cycling, walking and mass transit and encouraging safe use of the streets, especially for the most vulnerable users of the streets.

"The collaboration with stakeholders, city agencies, the Common Council and Mayor made this policy a reality," said Milwaukee Public Works Commissioner Jeff Polenske, who as a former city engineer, knows the streets here better than anyone.

"This award recognizes our commitment to involving the community in the work we do as we continue to create a more inclusive, holistic environment for people of all ages and abilities, no matter how they travel around our city."

The report celebrates Milwaukee’s embrace of Complete Streets and its use of a collaborative, flexible approach.

"Before Milwaukee adopted a formal Complete Streets policy, the city was already building infrastructure projects that incorporated Complete Streets elements. ... DPW began by evaluating existing processes for street design at the city and researching successful Complete Streets policies and practices that are known for being tailored to local needs.

"In Milwaukee, both DPW and local advocates played a role in advancing the Complete Streets policy. While they shared the same ultimate goal, there remained an inherent tension of advocacy: how do elected officials, city staff, and advocates respect one another’s work and continue to push for their desired outcomes?"

Also in the top five were Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Des Moines; Baltimore and Madison, Connecticut.

You can read the full report here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.