“If we’re going to repave and resurface our streets, it should include reconfiguration. We should make sure it’s accessible, ADA compliant, walkable and bikeable.”

Stakeholders in a community revitalization initiative aimed at improving the safety and accessibility of Birmingham neighborhoods met recently to develop strategies to ensure streets are designed for all users. Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition facilitated the workshop, which was hosted by United Way of Central Alabama, Inc.

Birmingham’s Mayor-Elect Randall Woodfin and City Council Member-Elect Darrell O’Quinn were among the participants on hand to learn tools and strategies to advance economic, health, and community vibrancy goals. Discussions focused on how to create a safe and inviting transportation network for everyone in the community, including bicyclists, drivers, transit riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Street and sidewalk improvements were consistently mentioned as a priority in the recent mayoral and city council campaigns, and both incoming officials have embraced Complete Streets as a strategy for improving safety and advancing a connected, multi-modal transportation system.

“The people in this room are experts in this matter of assisting and helping us move forward,” said Woodfin . “We have an opportunity to catch up and improve the quality of life for our city by investing in Complete Streets.”

National experts Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and Mike Rutkowski, Principal with Stantec, facilitated the interactive event.

“This workshop will help Birmingham build on and highlight the city’s vibrant character, while fostering economic prosperity, livability, and opportunity for all people of all abilities,” said Atherton.

As a national leader in the field, Smart Growth America has accumulated extensive experience working with communities to help them use land strategically, make the most of existing resources and invest strategically to catalyze private development.

Representatives from more than a dozen local organizations attended the Complete Streets Implementation Workshop this week with national representatives from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition.  They included:  The City of Birmingham, United Way of Central Alabama, American Heart Association, UAB, AARP Alabama, Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, Lakeshore Foundation, Jefferson County Department of Health, REV Birmingham, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, Alabama Department of Transportation and others.

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 additional information visit

United Way of Central Alabama Inc. supports health and human service programs and agencies that provide solutions for the most important needs in the community. Its business is to improve lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources. To learn more about United Way’s impact in your community visit

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.  For more information visit

United Way of Central Alabama President and CEO Drew Langloh and Birmingham Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin at the Complete Streets Implementation Workshop .