Tell Us Your Complete Streets Stories

“We can’t afford to build Complete Streets.”

How often have we heard this assertion? The trouble with this statement is that it often comes out of a misconception that building complete streets means simply adding a lot of infrastructure to every road, which isn’t the case. Or, it sometimes stems from a simple resistance to understanding the presence and needs of road users who are not driving cars. But it often also comes out of a genuine concern that complete streets will be expensive.

The National Complete Streets Coalition is working to address these concerns and misconceptions, and we need your help.

We’ve developed several points based on what we’ve learned around the country – and we believe the best arguments comes straight from those real-life stories.

But we need more of them.

Please look at our list of points below and the examples we’re asking for. Can you write a sentence or two from a real-life example that illustrates that point, provide a quote, or a photograph? We have developed sub-points and collected some examples; check them out (.pdf) for more inspiration.

Send your examples to [email protected]; fax them to 202-955-5543; or mail them to us at 1707 L St NW, Suite 250, Washington DC 20036.

We’ll share the very best in a report and via a webinar later this year. If you are coming to the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Professional Development Seminar in Charlotte next week, we’re planning a lively discussion!

Point 1: Complete Streets policies are necessary to accommodate existing users.
Examples needed:

  • Photos that show need for Complete Streets.
  • Stories and quotes related to a community’s need for Complete Streets policy (e.g. to make it possible for residents to age in place, accommodate people with disabilities, provide low-cost transportation options).
  • Documentation or survey from community that identified need for Complete Streets and adopted a policy.

Point 2: Complete Streets can be achieved within existing budgets.
Examples needed:

  • Jurisdictions that are implementing Complete Streets without a significant change in their overall transportation budget (provide location, prior budget, new budget, short list of improvements).
  • Examples of low-cost built projects, preferably with dollar amounts.
  • Examples of projects that came in under budget because of a Complete Streets approach (e.g. built a narrower roadway) or overall budget savings from implementing lower-cost Complete Streets projects.
  • Examples of lowering costs by combining projects, managing costs by installing new infrastructure incrementally, or making small adjustments without changing a project budget.

Point 3: Complete Streets can lead to new transportation funding opportunities.
Examples needed:

  • Stories from communities that have been able to gain public support for additional funding measures because of a Complete Streets approach.
  • Polls or surveys that demonstrate a community’s support for increased spending on bicycling, walking, public transportation.
  • Polls or surveys that demonstrate a community’s support for providing for the needs of children, older adults, or residents with disabilities.
  • Stories from communities that have successfully found new funding sources (e.g. Safe Routes to School, TIGER grants), in part because of their Complete Streets policy.

Point 4: Complete Streets add lasting value.
Examples needed:

  • Stories of avoided road projects because more people were walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation.
  • Communities that have seen an overall increase in transportation safety (e.g. % fewer crashes, % reduction in pedestrian injuries). Project-specific examples are also welcome.
  • Stories of how a Complete Streets approach or project helped provide access to jobs, schools, or other destinations for a low-income neighborhood or community of color.
  • Studies that show an increase in physical activity after a project was completed.
  • Stories and photos of Main Street revitalization that used a Complete Streets approach to the transportation elements.
  • Stories that combine any of the above topics – or others.
  • Quotes from elected officials or department heads covering any of the above issues.
Complete Streets