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Simply put, a “Complete Street” is a street that is for everyone. It is a street designed and operated to allow all types of users—including but not limited to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit users of all ages and physical abilities—to safely use and traverse the right-of-way.
A Complete Streets policy directs communities to ensure that every transportation project undertaken, whether it’s a new road, a major resurfacing project, or a transit investment, takes into consideration the needs of all potential users, and strives to maximize safety for all. CPEX continues to champion Complete Streets policy adoption as a top priority in Louisiana cities, parishes, and regions, by publishing community resources and participating in a number of local and statewide coalitions.
What Does a Complete Street Look Like?
Complete Streets balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road.A Complete Street might include sidewalks, bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders), special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent, safe and convenient crossings, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, and more.
Components of a Complete Street may include:
- Access management
- Curbside management
- Pedestrian Facilities
- Bicycle Facilities
- Transit Facilities
- Traffic Management and Calming
- Green Infrastructure
Who Benefits from Complete Streets?
Children: Complete Streets provide children with opportunities to walk, bike and play in a safe environment. Children are more likely to walk to school when sidewalks are present, and when street crossings are safe. Complete streets encourage kids to walk, bike and be physically active.
Older Americans: By 2025, one in four Americans will be over the age of 65. Complete Streets Policies offer the opportunity to improve travel options for older Americans, allowing them to retain independence and maintain an active lifestyle.
Transit Users: Complete Streets address the first and last mile of every transit trip by connecting people to transit. Improving access to transit can reduce dependence on more costly alternatives, such as private transportation services and paratransit.
People with Disabilities: Streets in our communities must allow safe and comfortable travel for everyone, including people with disabilities, who use wheelchairs, have diminished vision, can’t hear well, or for people who move more slowly. Nearly one in five Americans face at least one of these challenges.
Motorists: Complete Streets makes driving safer by reducing travel speeds, making the transportation system easier to navigate, and simplifying visual cues and information. Complete Streets improve safety for not just pedestrians and bicyclists; the implementation of Complete Streets through "road diets" has reduced vehicle-vehicle crashes by 29%.
Benefits of Complete Streets
The most frequently cited benefit of developing a Complete Streets policy is the consequent increase in safety. While higher numbers of total crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists tend to occur in cities, safety is a concern for all communities.
Equity and Access
After housing, transportation is the second highest household expense for most American families. For many families, owning an automobile is a significant financial burden, or is simply out of reach. Increasing opportunities to walk, bike, or use transit increases a family’s ability to inexpensively access jobs, services, shopping, and other destinations.
Bicycle and pedestrian-oriented transportation projects have proven to create more jobs, increase property value, and have a greater overall economic impact per dollar invested than auto-oriented projects.
Traffic congestion costs billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and wasted fuel, and is an increasing problem in urbanized areas throughout the country.
Complete Streets can improve your health. Walking and biking to destinations such as work, school and grocery stores are great ways to get the recommended amount of physical activity for adults - about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Walking as little as 5 and a half miles a week has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% - thats less than a mile a day!
- Physical activity can be performed 10 minutes at a time, throughout the day, to reach your 30-minute goal.
- Biking is gentle on joints, strengthens core muscles and improves balance.
- Walking and biking improve heart function and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
“Livable” communities are vibrant, active places where people want to live, work, and play. Increasing the safety and attractiveness of multiple transportation modes through Complete Streets helps achieve this quality.
Complete Streets in Louisiana
Through the efforts of CPEX and similar organizations statewide, Louisiana has seen 3 Complete Streets policies adopted, requiring all transportation projects to consider every type of traveler in roadway design and function. These include a statewide policy by LADOTD and 2 policies governing metro areas.
The State's Complete Streets Policy was recognized by the National Complete Streets Coalition in 2011 as being one of the best in the nation for its comprehensiveness and strength.
Louisiana COMPLETE STREET INITIATIVES
BETTER BLOCK BATON ROUGE
CPEX has worked with various local partners (including the Office of the Mayor-President, City of Baton Rouge,Parish of East Baton Rouge, the city-parish Department of Transportation and Drainage, and Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS®) to produce "Better Block" demonstration projects throughout the city. These demonstrations showcase a temporary experience for residents to interact with and use their streets in a different way, reimagining high-traffic corridors as friendly thoroughfares for all modes of travelers.
The first demonstration, Better Block BR: Government St., took place in April 2013 as a project of the FutureBR Comprehensive Plan's Implementation Team. The second demonstration, Better Block BR: Perkins Overpass, took place in April 2016.
Baton Rouge Sustainable Transportation action committee
The Baton Rouge Sustainable Transportation Action Committee (STAC) is a joint initiative between CPEX and AARP Louisiana, established in 2012 as a coalition of local volunteer partners engaged in making Baton Rouge streets safer and more accessible for all travelers.
From policy and advocacy work to public demonstrations and community participation, STAC leads the charge for Complete Streets improvements throughout the Capital Region.
BETTER BLOCK downtown lake charles
In April 2017, Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana staged Better Block Downtown Lake Charles (in cooperation with the Spring Art Walk) as an advocacy tool that educates, equips, and empowers the community and leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.