Streets are an important part of our cities and towns. They allow children to get to school and parents to get to work. They bring together neighbors and draw visitors to neighborhood stores. These streets ought to be designed for everyone – whether young or old, on foot or on bicycle, in a car or in a bus – but too often they are designed only for speeding cars or creeping traffic jams.
Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to “complete” the streets. States, cities, and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build roads that are safer, more accessible, and easier for everyone. In the process, they are creating better communities for people to live, play, work, and shop.
What are “Complete Streets”?
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. People of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across streets in a community, regardless of how they are traveling. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.
What do Complete Streets policies do?
Creating complete streets means transportation agencies must change their approach to community roads. By adopting a Complete Streets policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists – making your town a better place to live. The National Complete Streets Coalition has identified the elements of an ideal Complete Streets policy to help you write one for your town.
The many types of Complete Streets designs
There is no singular design prescription for Complete Streets; each street is unique and responds to its community context. Streets that are planned and designed using a Complete Streets approach may include: sidewalks, bicycle facilities (such as protected bike lanes in urban areas), special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals and ramps, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts, multimodal bridges, and more.
A “complete” street in a rural area will look quite different from a “complete” street in a highly urban area, but both are designed to ensure safety and convenience for everyone. The below presentation demonstrates the variety of options in creating roads that are safe for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.
Introduction to Complete Streets: Presentation
Download: Introduction to Complete Streets (.pptx, 13.6 MB)
Please note: This presentation is a PowerPoint 2007 (PC)/PowerPoint 2008 (Mac) file. If you are using an earlier version of PowerPoint, please be sure you’ve installed the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Windows or Mac. If you are prompted to unzip the file, ignore it – the file will open correctly.
For More Information
- Look at our interactive Atlas of Complete Streets policies to see what has been happening near your community, in your state, and across the country.
- Read up on the ten elements of a Complete Streets policy.
- Learn about the many benefits of Complete Streets.
- Check out our collection of resources that can help planners, engineers, policy-makers, and residents better understand how to implement Complete Streets.
- Share our Complete Streets resources in Spanish.
- Contact us by using our contact form, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!