About Complete Streets



What are Complete Streets?

The streets of our cities and towns ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.

But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or creeping traffic jams.

They’re unsafe for people on foot or bike—and unpleasant for everyone.

The streets are not complete until they are safe and convenient for travel by foot or bicycle, as well as for transit users, and people with disabilities, and people in automobiles.

A street without such safe passage is by default ‘incomplete’.

In communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets.  States, cities and towns are asking their planners, engineers and designers to build road networks that welcome all citizens.

[National Complete Streets Coalition, www.completestreets.org]

Benefits of Complete Streets

  1. Economic Revitalization:  Complete streets can reduce transportation costs and travel                 time while increasing property values and job growth.

  2. Improved return on infrastructure investments:  Integrating sidewalks, bike lanes, transit amenities, and safe crossings into the initial design of a project spares the expense of retrofits later. 

  3. Quality of Place:  Increased bicycling and walking are indicative of vibrant and livable communities.

  4. Increased transportation choices:  Streets that provide travel choices can give people the option to avoid traffic jams, and increase the overall capacity of the transportation network.

  5. Improved Safety:  Improved design and accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians reduces the incidence of crashes.

  6. More walking and bicycling:  Public health experts are encouraging walking and bicycling as a response to the obesity epidemic.  Streets that provide room for bicycling and walking help children get physical activity and gain independence.

[The National Complete Streets Coalition “Benefits Fact Sheet, and the

Bicycle Coalition of Maine, April 2009]