What are complete streets?

“Complete Streets are streets designed and operated to enable safe use and support mobility for all users. Those include people of all ages and abilities, regardless of whether they are travelling as drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transportation riders. The concept of Complete Streets encompasses many approaches to planning, designing, and operating roadways and rights of way with all users in mind to make the transportation network safer and more efficient. Complete Street policies are set at the state, regional, and local levels and are frequently supported by roadway design guidelines.

Complete Streets reduce motor vehicle-related crashes and pedestrian risk, as well as bicyclist risk when well-designed bicycle-specific infrastructure is included. They can promote walking and bicycling by providing safer places to achieve physical activity through transportation.” Source: US Department of Transportation

Why do we need Complete Streets?

According to USDOT, “Roadways traditionally have been designed primarily for motor vehicles. A personal vehicle-centric design approach potentially could pose barriers to use by pedestrians, bicyclists and public transportation users, thus limiting active transportation opportunities and potential resulting health benefits. Complete Streets policies can support planners and engineers in developing roadway designs that improve the safety of all users and provide additional opportunities for physical activity from transportation. Active transportation and physical activity is more likely to occur in places with a variety of land uses, a comprehensive network of pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation facilities, inviting street design for all users, and safety measures.”

What can be done?

Complete Streets approaches vary based on community context. They may address a wide range of elements, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, transit stops, crossings, refuge islands, pedestrian signals, and streetscape improvements. Recognizing the importance of Complete Streets, in 2018 the Town held a Complete Streets Workshop with funding and technical support from the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC). You can access the workshop notes from the Links section below. The Town Board passed the Complete Streets Policy in November 2019. The Town’s Policy provides guidance and direction to staff, developers, Town officials, and other involved stakeholders who are undertaking activities with potential Complete Streets implications, such as roadway projects or land development reviews. Also, the Town is in the process of developing an inventory of Complete Streets roadway network elements, and is identifying needs, projects, and prioritizing their implementation. At the state level, the Complete Streets Act, which became NYS law in 2011, requires state, county, and local agencies to consider the convenience and mobility of all users when developing transportation projects that receive state and federal funding.

Links and REsources