Since 2004, the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) has helped to guide nearly 1000 Complete Streets policies into place in cities and states across the country. The Coalition and our thousands of supporters have done a great job advancing these policies across the country—but how can we ensure that those policies are put into practice and advance health and social equity for people along the way?
As part of our new strategic plan for the next four years, NCSC will champion the implementation of Complete Streets policies already on the books, helping agencies put their ideas to work making the nation’s streets safe and accessible for all users of all abilities.
“We’re thrilled with the policy buy-in we’ve seen among our local, regional, and state partners over the past decade,” says NCSC Director Emiko Atherton. “They’ve seen the tremendous benefits of Complete Streets in their communities. We want to make sure those benefits extend to everyone who uses our nation’s streets and roadways, regardless of their ability or how they travel.”
More and more, local and state governments are embracing Complete Streets, but need help implementing those policies and putting them into practice. We intend to strengthen our outreach and broaden the research available to the local jurisdictions and states that want safer, more equitable, more complete streets.
Through our new Consortium Series, three jurisdictions in one state can apply to receive joint technical assistance for implementing complete streets in their communities. Representatives from all three communities will attend workshops in each jurisdiction to learn the nuts and bolts of advancing Complete Streets policies and plans. Putting leaders from different communities in the same room to tackle shared challenges will promote cooperation between state and local leaders and build regional know-how for putting Complete Streets policies to work; and collaboration can help speed adoption and implementation.
Where before we took the pulse of the nation by the number of policies adopted—via our yearly Best of Complete Streets Policies reports—now we want to measure our success by the number of Complete Streets built or under construction. That means we will measure success not by how many master plans promote biking, walking and transit, but by the number of bike lanes, sidewalks and transit lines created or improved. We want our benchmarks to reflect that true complete streets are those that are safe and accessible to all users, regardless of age, ability or type of travel.
We will grow our existing technical assistance program and help communities navigate the often complicated process of bridging policy into practice. We will build new toolkits to help community advocates take charge of the effort to deliver on the promises of policy, and break ground on Complete Streets projects that make their community a better place to live.
“We may be changing our emphasis somewhat, but our mission as the national Complete Streets leader remains the same,” says NCSC Steering Committee Chair Rich Weaver. “To move our nation toward a safer, healthier, more equitable and more accessible travel network for all.”