What are Complete Streets?

bike lane

There is a shift in perspective of how to design streets.  Instead of focusing solely on automobile needs, streets and pathways are being designed for all people, regardless of age, ability or modality. Missouri leaders and citizens are gaining support for the national movement called Complete Streets, which is focused on making community streets, roadways and sidewalks accessible, safe, efficient and useable for all people.

It is important to note that there is no one way to build a Complete Street or Complete Community. Each community decides what features or services they need. For examples of Complete Streets designs and how they can look in your community, visit the Street Design Examples page in the Resources section.

Why are Complete Streets important?

The benefits of Complete Streets extends far beyond transportation. Complete Streets are focused on implementing policies and plans to create equitable, healthy, safe and viable communities where citizens can work, play and prosper.

When streets are designed to move cars as quickly as possible, it creates an unsafe environment for pedestrians.  Complete Streets puts pedestrians of all ages and abilities first, ensuring the safety of all community members. Additionally, incorporating Complete Streets can also result in fewer vehicle crashes within the community.

Public Health
Complete Streets can have a positive impact on both physical health and environmental health. When people choose to bike, walk or use public transit to get their destinations, they are increasing physical activity (which reduces the burden of chronic disease), and they are also reducing carbon emissions (which is good for the health of the environment). The resources below are just a glimpse of all the Complete Streets health impacts.

Economic Development
Communities that implement Complete Streets designs experience increased foot traffic to local businesses and increased individual property value. The aesthetic appeal of safer, more active streets draws in more businesses to the community as well. This economic impact is a compelling benefit for key policy and decision makers to implement Complete Streets in their communities.

Complete Streets increase access to transportation for the most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, individuals with low income, and those with disabilities. Ultimately, Complete Streets reduce barriers for all citizens by creating more connected communities, providing access to food, education, employment , health care and other opportunities for those with no other means of transportation.

Missourians for Responsible Transportation logo
Missourian’s for Responsible Transportation is a partnership between BikeWalkKC, Ozark Greenways, Trailnet & Local Motion

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