Complete Streets
March 27, 2009 11:47 AM   Subscribe

COMPLETE STREETS are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street. Senator Tom Harkin (IA) and Representative Doris Matsui (CA-5) have introduced the Complete Streets Act of 2009 into the US Senate (S. 584) and House (H.R. 1443), to ensure that federal transportation infrastructure investments provide safe travel for Americans whether they are driving, bicycling, walking, or taking public transportation. They were joined by original co-sponsors Sen. Tom Carper (DE), Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA-10), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), and Rep. David Wu (OR-1). Check out press releases from the Coalition (pdf), from Congresswoman Matsui, or from Senator Harkin for more information. Blog posts at The Infrastructurist and the Transportation For America campaign explain how the bills relate to the recent economic recovery package and the impact they could have across the country.

Johnathan A. Schein wrote about the bills in The Huffington Post, saying the "many economic and climate rationales behind Complete Street policies" make it "obvious that swift passage of The Complete Streets Act would greatly benefit our nation's general health."
posted by aniola (21 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Good luck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:49 AM on March 27, 2009

whether they are driving, bicycling, walking, or taking public transportation

But what about my Segway?! They're the future!!!
posted by inigo2 at 12:12 PM on March 27, 2009

What the fuck are you talking about? Get these forty feet wide rivers of death out of my god damn downtown. You want a habitable metropolis? Put the cars somewhere else so the people can get around without fearing for their lives every two minutes trying to cross a street or passing in front of a driveway. I'm all for transit, but private motorists should be simply banned from any downtown area. And you fuckers with your noisy motorcycles, too. Yeah, it's spring time now, but I'd almost trade a permanent -20c freeze just to never hear your Rad Pipez again.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:14 PM on March 27, 2009 [6 favorites]

Still got those funky jaywalking laws? Yeah? Well...adding medians into that is just going to let those motorists drive faster and with less regard. Even curbs add to this. Naked streets are the way forward.
posted by Sova at 12:21 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

With hundreds of thousands of traffic fatalities, it is good that we are taking steps in the right direction.
posted by aniola at 12:38 PM on March 27, 2009

I just like how, in the middle of their furious photoshopping to show what the streets would look like, the never got rid of the giant KINK billboard.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:56 PM on March 27, 2009

> Get these forty feet wide rivers of death out of my god damn downtown

I think these are really applying to various small / medium towns that make of the majority of the US roadways coverage, not our dense urban centers. As in places where the downtown runs along "main street" for 5 blocks, and maybe has two blocks on either side. They already have the 5 lanes going down the center, this is just making that safer. You can't just sod over that main corridor as it is also probably the state route 15 or whatever that you would need to follow to get to the next town.

I don't seem them trying to put these in places like Seattle, NY, or other major urban centers where it makes sense to get rid of cars.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:07 PM on March 27, 2009

"Naked" street

(in case you were wondering)
posted by leotrotsky at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2009

It's great that they want to put sidewalks where no one walks anyway. It's dangerous to walk on major suburban arterials not because of the lack of sidewalks, but because of the speed of traffic, the frequent curb cuts, the invisibility of pedestrians, and the necessity to cross large parking lots to reach store entrances. Here's an example. Great, there's a sidewalk, but where the hell are you coming from? There aren't any houses nearby. Where are you going? Shopping plazas are generally too far apart to comfortably walk between.
posted by desjardins at 1:13 PM on March 27, 2009

Seattle is actually rather involved in doing complete streets, and so are some other large cities.

As it turns out, how fast a car can get through a corridor depends on the intersection more than the number of lanes. Improve the flow at intersections and you can decrease the number of lanes in the corridor AND the speed at which cars travel, and still get through in less time than you would have otherwise.

Oh la la, naked streets. I don't know much about naked streets, but I am imagining that they do much the same thing, plus put more responsibility on travelers to watch where they're going.
posted by aniola at 2:00 PM on March 27, 2009

I stand corrected, that shows me for talking before thinking.

I was envisioning specifically of downtown being forced to fit the 5 lane of traffic model. There are many parts of seattle that would benefit from the better flow patterns of Complete Streets, I just don't think of them as "downtown."

I like this because it is saying "we just can't consider roads and transportation funding as solely fitting as many cars in as many lanes as possible, we have to think about buses, pedestrians and bicycles also."
posted by mrzarquon at 2:47 PM on March 27, 2009

I'm all for transit, but private motorists should be simply banned from any downtown area.

yeah, but FUCK those uptown pedestrians.
posted by shmegegge at 3:18 PM on March 27, 2009

After spending furious hours trying to determine a safe bicycling route to/from work, I gave up and just put a billion lights on my bike and helmet. I look like a goddamn Christmas tree, and I still get cut off. Interestingly, mainly by Prius drivers.

Anyway, please send complete streets stat.
posted by queensissy at 3:38 PM on March 27, 2009

yeah, but FUCK those uptown pedestrians.

"Decent people shouldn't live here. They'd be happier someplace else."
posted by Urban Hermit at 4:27 PM on March 27, 2009

One word, bicycle:

- Freddy Mercury wants to ride his bycicle and Matt rides the recumbent, nough said already;
- on distances between 0-5km it is unbeatable;
- requires very little and relatively unexpensive maintenance;
- improves health, counts as daily exercise;
- foldable ones allow intermodality, hopping on and off long distance vehicles;
- doesn't suffer congestion charges, parking charges, gasoline price fluctuation, high insurance prices, high maintenance cost;
- can carry some load;
- modern day front-rear suspension systems make any ride a lot more comfortable;
- multiple gear system, should you ever require any on flatlands, is unexpensive;

There are minuses indeed :
- can't defend from bad weather;
- requires wearing an helmet or winning the next Darwin Awards;
- requires minimun maintenance skills, at least repairing a flat;

Gimme bicycle lanes, right now.
posted by elpapacito at 5:21 PM on March 27, 2009

I'd be happy if you can manage to tame the arrogant bikers in my neighborhood. They're happy to tell me that I need to treat their bike as a regular car. Except for the part where they're expected to stop for stop signs and traffic signals. Yea, the rules they don't like don't apply, but I need to respect their ability to travel in 4-5 bike wide groups taking up the bike lane and one lane of traffic, instead of them biking in single file in the sufficiently wide bike lane.
posted by SirOmega at 5:32 PM on March 27, 2009

Welcome to a MetaFilter bike thread. Please select one of the following four pointless discussions:

- Bikes don't follow the rules / The rules were made for cars
- Get off the sidewalk / Advocate for bike lanes
- Critical Mass is stupid / Critical Mass is awesome
- fixies / LOL
posted by regicide is good for you at 6:04 PM on March 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

I am so excited about the Complete Streets idea; I hope it passes.
posted by katinka-katinka at 8:07 PM on March 27, 2009

"I still get cut off. Interestingly, mainly by Prius drivers."

Prius drivers tend to be self-involved assholes. Can't you see what a contribution they are making to the environment?
posted by Eideteker at 4:23 AM on March 28, 2009

Bugger the bicycles. They force pedestrians off paths and sidewalks.

I'd ban all wheeled transportation downtown, except for public transportation. Then maybe I could make it to work without going into combat mode.
posted by QIbHom at 10:47 AM on March 30, 2009

I think these are really applying to various small / medium towns that make of the majority of the US roadways coverage, not our dense urban centers

There are many parts of seattle that would benefit from the better flow patterns of Complete Streets

You're misunderstanding what Complete Streets are on a rather fundamental level.

A "Complete Street" isn't a particular type of street or street design.

Rather it is the design philosophy that all roads and streets should be designed with all users in mind (ie, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, people with disabilities, etc., as well as motorists).

So the particular design is going to look very, very different depending on context.

A "naked street" could be a really good type of Complete Street in one context.

In another context, a Complete Street might look like a two-lane street with some shoulder area for bicycling and sidewalks (and other design features that support walking and bicycling, like crosswalks, traffic signals that detect bicycles and give pedestrians enough time to cross, pullout areas for buses, speed limits compatible with walking and bicycling, etc etc etc).

In another context, a Complete Street could look more like the example graphic you are referrring to.

In a rural area a Complete Street might simply be a road with shoulders--the shoulders giving bicyclists & pedestrians a place to operate.

The goal is complete accommodation of bicycling, walking, and transit throughout the transportation system.

The details of implementation are very flexible--a Complete Street will look different in different situations.
posted by flug at 10:31 PM on March 30, 2009

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