Complete streets programs integrate pedestrian and bicycle facilities into a balanced transportation system. Walking and bicycling play key roles in developing healthy communities that support physical activity. Complete street policies integrate the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and riders of public transit into transportation planning. Laws of 2011, Ch. 257 established a complete street grants program. The legislation states:
Urban main streets should be designed to provide safe access to all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and public transportation users. Context sensitive design and engineering principles allow for flexible solutions depending on a community's needs, and result in many positive outcomes for cities and towns, including improving the health and safety of a community. It is the intent of the legislature to encourage street designs that safely meet the needs of all users and also protect and preserve a community's environment and character.
This page provides information on planning and designing safe facilities for complete streets programs. Companion pages include information on bicycle and pedestrian facilities, developing a sidewalk program, information about crosswalks, bicycle-related topics include bicycle safety, helmet requirements, and bike rack programs. For information on active community programs, see MRSC's pages on Healthy Communities.
Policy Guides for Designing Facilities for Bicycles and Pedestrians
Guides for planning and designing facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists are available from the the federal and state departments of transportation and from organizations promoting complete streets.
- Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation: Regulations and Recommendations, U.S. Department of Transportation, 03/11/2010
- Complete Streets & Main Street Highways, Washington State Department of Transportation
- Active Transportation for America: A Case for Increased Federal Investment in Bicycling and Walking, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 10/2008 - Report to Congress about how adequate federal investment in bicycling and walking will create healthier places for healthier people
- Benchmarking, Alliance Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Project, Alliance for Bicycling and Walking - Links to 2012 and other benchmarking reports
- Context Sensitive Solutions.org - A resource for state and local transportation agencies and practitioners, community stakeholders (elected officials, regional and local agencies). The clearinghouse contains built examples of CSS projects, case studies, cutting-edge research, information, and policy documents. It addresses a broad range of issues, including design standards, liability, stakeholder involvement and new techniques in transportation problem-solving; funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
- National Complete Streets Coalition - A coalition providing information and advocacy for complete streets
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center - A national clearinghouse for information about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement, access, and mobility for pedestrians (including transit users) and bicyclists funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
Designing Complete Streets
The following publications provide general information on the planning and design of complete streets. For information on designing for bicycles and pedestrians, see the MRSC page on Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities (under development).
- America Needs Complete Streets (), by Dan Burden and Todd Litman, ITE Journal, 04/2011 via Victoria Policy Institute
- Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices, edited by Barbara McCann and Suzanne Rynne, Planning Advisory Service Report No. 559, American Planning Association, 2010 (Available through MRSC Library Loan)
- Complete Streets, Context Sensitive Solutions.org, Federal Highway Administration - Resources on complete streets
- Complete the Streets for Smart Growth, by Barbara McCann, National Association of Realtors, On Common Ground, Summer 2007 via ICMA Knowledge Network
- Complete Streets Resource List, American Planning Association - Links to many articles and reports
- Complete Streets Resource Toolkit, Sacramento Area Council of Governments - Developed by SACOG, in coordination with the local Complete Streets Coalition
- Design Guidance: Accommodating Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel: A Recommended Approach, Federal Highway Administration - U.S. Department of Transportation policy statement integrating bicycling and walking into transportation infrastructure
- Street Design: Part 1 - Complete Streets, by Robin Smith, Sharlene Reed, and Shana Baker, Public Roads, July/August 2010 - Discusses policy statements, programs, and planning opportunities to improving the accessibility of the transportation system for all users
- Street Design: Part 2 - Sustainable Streets, by David J. Carlson, Ellen Greenberg, and Morgan Kanninen, Public Roads, March/April 2011 - Describes road projects that deliver livability and environmental benefits and also achieve mobility and safety objectives
Complete Streets Policies and Plans
This section includes links to complete streets and bicycle and pedestrian plans and policies from jurisdictions in Washington and other states.