Complete Streets Basics

What is a complete street?
It’s a street for everybody to use.
• Takes into account all users of the street, not just those in cars.
• A safe corridor for people traveling by foot, bicycle, transit, and car.
• Cost effective because it provides travel options and reduces congestion.

About 40% of Houstonians do not drive.
For some, it’s a question of money, others are disabled, some may be too old, some are too young, and some just choose not to drive.
All of them have access needs and obstacles , and all of their frustration and difficulties tend to be hindrances to health, happiness, and prosperity.

A movement is growing to complete the streets.
States, cities, towns, and neighborhoods are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.

What does a complete street look like?
Each complete street is unique, but ingredients may include sidewalks, bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders), bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, and more.

Why do we need complete streets policies?
Complete streets improve safety
According to a Federal safety review pedestrians are safer along streets with sidewalks, raised medians, better bus stop placement, traffic-calming measures, and treatments for disabled travelers. Some features, such as medians, improve safety for all users, enabling pedestrians to cross busy roads in two stages, reducing left-turn crashes to zero, and protecting bicyclists.

Complete streets improve health
The National Institutes of Medicine recommends fighting childhood obesity by establishing ordinances to encourage construction of sidewalks, bikeways, and other places for physical activity. One study found that 43% of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of
home met recommended activity levels; without safe places to walk, just 27% met them.

Complete streets address energy and emissions
Complete streets would help convert many short auto trips to multi-modal travel. Increasing bicycling from 1% to 1.5% of all US trips would save 462 million gallons of gasoline each year. Using transit has helped the United States save 1.4 billion gallons of fuel each year, which is
a savings of 3.9 million gallons of gasoline every day.

Complete Streets foster strong communities.
Complete streets play an important role in livable communities, where all people – regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation – feel safe and welcome on the roadways.

Where are complete streets being built?
315 local jurisdictions, 26 states, and the District of Columbia have adopted policies or committed to do so, including Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

What are some of the benefits of complete streets?
Complete streets make economic and fiscal sense, help children, are good for air quality, and can help ease transportation woes.