Why Huntsville, AL wants to build more Complete Streets

If your city could be more convenient, more attractive, and get more out of its past investments, wouldn’t you want it to? That’s what Huntsville, AL was thinking about when they first became interested in a Complete Streets approach to street design.

In June 2016, Smart Growth America went to Huntsville to hold a Complete Streets workshop with local leaders there. Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and John Robert Smith, Senior Policy Advisor for Smart Growth America, joined city planners, engineers, advocates, and members of the public to discuss tools and strategies to develop a Complete Streets policy. The development of a Complete Streets policy will help Huntsville plan and design its streets to be safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or using public transportation. See the presentation from the workshop.

As part of the workshop, the City of Huntsville created the short video above, which explains a Complete Streets approach and how it would help make Huntsville a better place to live and work.

“It serves more of the population, serves your population better, and you really get more out of the money you put in to infrastructure when you build for more of those modes,” explained Dennis Madsen, Manager of Huntsville’s Urban & Long Range Planning. “I think what we’re trying to do is talk about how there’s a better way to design streets, both new ones and retrofits of existing ones to do a better job of accommodating all the different ways that people get around the city.”

“How you build out your environment—the sidewalks, bike lanes, how you configure your streets, how you relate your neighborhoods to your downtown—all of these things have a direct impact on your ability to compete with other cities in your region,” added John Robert Smith. “It’s actually about a competition for a sense of place.”

Workshop Materials:

The National Complete Streets Coalition offers technical assistance workshops for communities at every stage of the Complete Streets process. Interested in helping your community use this approach? Learn more about our Complete Streets workshops ››

Complete Streets Technical assistance