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 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, lead the NH Complete Streets Coalition, whose 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.  The coalition worked hard to get the bill passed, and the resulting study committee has been meeting to discuss what a statewide Complete Streets policy would mean for New Hampshire.  Bike-Walk testified before the committee on October 13th, stressing the importance of bicycle-friendly networks that connect people to the places they want to be.  The final committee report was issued in November of 2016 and can be found here.