One of the questions we are routinely asked is, “what exactly goes into an effective and strong Complete Streets policy?” So, we’re walking through the 10 elements within every strong Complete Streets policy, leading up to the long-awaited release of a brand new edition of The Best Complete Streets Policies report which scores all policies across the country.
Author: Steve Davis
Any number of agencies—city, county, metro region, or state—may be responsible for the streets and sidewalks, often with overlapping authority. This is why the strongest Complete Streets policies clearly define who is responsible, what level of coordination is required, and even when or how outside parties must comply.
Streets don’t exist in a vacuum. They are inextricably connected to the buildings, sidewalks, spaces, homes, businesses, and everything else around them that they serve. The strongest Complete Streets policies require the integration of land-use planning to best sync up with a community’s desires for using and living on their land today and in the future.
Every local community, region, and state has a process by which they choose which transportation projects to fund and build. A strong Complete Streets policy changes that process by adding new or updated criteria that give extra weight to projects that advance Complete Streets and improve the network.
A formal commitment to a Complete Streets approach is just the beginning. A strong policy also spells out specific steps for implementing the policy in ways that will make a measurable impact on what gets built and where.
How and why does a community want to complete its streets? Clear answers to that question—an unmistakable and binding statement of intent—are the vital first element for creating a complete, connected network of streets that considers the needs of all users.
To which projects or streets should a Complete Streets policy apply? If the policy is a strong one, then it dictates a holistic approach to every transportation project, in every place, in every phase of work. This means the application of a policy will also look different based on context.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released final data for 2021 revealing that drivers of motor vehicles struck and killed 7,341 people while walking that year. This massive 12.4 percent increase over 2020 is both higher than predicted and illustrative of the urgent need for a better approach to gathering and collecting this data. We can’t say we care about a crisis that we are failing to measure well.
While the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic upended many aspects of daily life, including how people get around, one terrible, long-term trend was unchanged: the alarming increase in people being struck and killed while walking. The number of people struck and killed while walking reached yet another new high in 2020. More than 6,500 people were struck and killed … Continued
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