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Regardless of a policy’s specific form, the National Complete Streets Coalition has identified ten elements of a comprehensive complete streets policy. Where possible, we have listed examples of other local or state policies that include such elements, and the specific language.
“To create a safe and efficient transportation system that promotes the
health and mobility of Decatur citizens and visitors, creating better
access to businesses and neighborhoods.”
“The roadway system of the Commonweath should safely accommodate
all users of the right-of-way, including pedestrians, people requiring
mobility aids, bicyclists, drivers and passengers of transit vehicles,
trucks, and automobiles and motorcycles.”
The City of Redmond, Washington’s policy is cited as a model for how to handle
connectivity: “The City of Redmond will plan for, design, and construct all new
transportation projects to provide appropriate accommodation for bicyclists,
pedestrians, transit users, and persons of all abilities in comprehensive and
The Oregon state law (enacted in 1971) is the only state legislation to do such. It states the following: “footpaths and bicycle trails … shall be provided wherever a highway, road or street is being constructed, reconstructed, or relocated.”
The State of Maryland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Act is cited as a model
and includes the following language: “Access to and use of transportation
facilities by pedestrians and bicycle riders shall be considered and best
engineering practices regarding their needs shall be employed in all phases of
transportation planning, including highway design, construction, reconstruction,
and repair as well as expansion and improvement of other transportation
the national recommendation) as well as some exception related to location (e.g. urban
vs. rural areas). “Urban area” is a United States Census Bureau classification and is often
used as a designation to ensure that facilities are being prioritized for populated areas.
In or within one mile of an urban area, the needs of all users of all ages and abilities shall
be examined in the transportation planning process. Infrastructure such as bicycle and
pedestrian ways (e.g. sidewalks) and adequate transit shelter shall be established in
conjunction with the construction, reconstruction, or other change of any State
transportation facility, except where approved by the head of the Department of
Transportation based upon documented safety issues, excessive cost (above 20% of
total project cost) or absence of need (e.g. project is on a limited access highway).
“All public street projects or public street reconstruction projects in the City of Iowa shall
be designed to accommodate travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, and motorized
vehicles and their passengers with the following exceptions:
If the cost is excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use, defined as at least 20% of the overall project cost, the City Council may choose to not require bicycle, pedestrian, and / or transit facilities.”
Note: this is distinct from Context Sensitive Solutions, butd oe s complement that process. CSS is focused on the physical setting, complete streets is focused on users.
The Charlotte, North Carolina policy is cited as a model for how to combine CSS
with a Complete Streets process. They have an iterative, six-step multi-modal
planning process, for use in all projects. This process ensures that both context
and user needs are addressed, and includes the following:
1. Define land use context (existing and future conditions)
2. Define transportation context (existing and future conditions)
3. Identify deficiencies (goals and objectives)
4. Describe future objectives (goals and objectives)
5. Define street type and initial cross-section (decision-making)
6. Describe trade-offs and select cross-section (decision-making)
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