What are Complete Streets?

What are Complete Streets, and why should you care?

 

Complete Streets accommodate all users, not just cars. Complete streets are safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, and can include such features as wider shoulders for rural highways, sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes.

 

Across the country, over 730 agencies at the local, regional, and state levels have adopted Complete Streets policies.  Five of the six New England states have endorsed statewide Complete Streets policies.  Why is this such a hot topic lately?  Because communities and states have discovered that Complete Streets tools allow them to achieve long term goals such as improved public health and increased economic activity for those who work or live nearby.

 

Even the little town of Colebrook, at the northern end of New Hampshire, is using a complete streets approach to redesign their downtown streets, relying on evidence in other states that shows increased tourism and retail sales where people can safely walk and bike to their destinations.

 

Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire, along with Transport NH and HEAL NH, formed the NH Complete Streets Coalition in the fall of 2015.  Our goal is adoption of a statewide Complete Streets policy for New Hampshire.  Bike-Walk led the way in finding a sponsor for a bill to create a Complete Streets Legislative Study Committee.  That bill passed and the final committee report was issued in November of 2016.  Senator Feltes of Concord incorporated the recommendations found in the report into the bill labeled SB243, which is making its way through the 2017 legislative process.  You can follow the progress of that bill here.  Our partner, Transport NH, has updates on this and other transportation bills here.