Benefits and Elements of Complete Streets

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Complete Streets is a movement that stresses the need to accommodate all users of the roadway: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists. People of all ages and abilities are able to move safely on and across Complete Streets regardless of travel mode. The practice is not limited to design, but involves planning, programming, operating, and maintaining transportation systems. Complete Streets also involve relating transportation projects to surrounding land uses by finding the appropriate means of accommodation for the setting. A “complete” rural street will look and feel different than a “complete” urban one.

Benefits of Complete Streets

  • Complete Streets improve the safety of all users, by providing safe crossings, expanded sidewalks, and dedicated bicycle infrastructure. A complete streets policy would go a long way to reduce Albuquerque’s high number of pedestrian and bicycle crashes.
  • Complete Streets accommodate all users, creating more transportation choices for everyone. This in turn can reduce congestion and air pollution.
  • Complete Streets improve health outcomes by allowing more people to walk, bike, and take public transit to their desired destinations.
  • Complete Streets increase livability, by creating more vibrant public spaces that can help attract and retain residents.
  • Complete Streets can encourage private investment by catalyzing redevelopment activity along newly retrofitted streets. They can also increase business sales by making streets more attractive and accessible to an expanded range of customers.

Elements of Complete Streets

Complete streets are roads that are accessible, multi-modal, diverse, and safe for all users. In practice, this translates into streets that have wider sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic calming features, slower speeds, street trees and landscaping, as well as many other pedestrian- and bicyclist-oriented design elements.

An example section of elements on a complete street.

An example section of elements on a complete street.