What is a Complete Street? Why does it Matter?
Complete streets are designed with everyone in mind - no matter how they choose to move around their community.
With a complete street, residents can easily cross the street, walk to shops and bike to work or for recreation. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transit users of all ages and physical abilities should be considered when designing or improving streets. A complete street can look totally different in cities and in rural areas, but regardless they should be safe and convenient for everyone using the roads.
Some common features of complete streets:
- Dedicated bike lanes
- Sharrows (shared lane marking indicating where people should preferably bike)
- Multi-use path
- More bike signage
- Paved shoulders
- Curb extensions
- Increased signage
- More lighting
- ADA Compliance
- Lighted/Increased bus shelters
Why do we need complete streets?
By making the streets in our community safe for everyone, we can improve safety and potentially save lives. In 2015, our state had 863 crashes involving pedestrians - 106 of those crashes were fatal. Additionally, that year our state saw 338 bike crashes with 33 of those crashes being fatal. With complete streets, we can work to reduce the number of crashes which makes the area safe for all travelers and has the potential to increase recreation activity.
Ranking our state:
3rd highest child pedestrian fatality rate
5th highest pedestrian fatality rate
33% of adults in Louisiana are considered obese
4th in child obesity in the U.S.
Where do we start?
Complete streets for your community begin with your local elected officials and government staff. It's important to discuss areas for improvement and work together to identify priorities.
Complete streets begin here:
- A local ordinance or resolution by your City or Parish Council
- An Executive Order from your Mayor or Parish President
- Rewrite of street design manuals
- Inclusion in a Comprehensive Land Use and Development Plan
- Policies adopted by City or Parish Councils
- Administration policies by transportation agencies
To learn more about complete streets, visit these resources:
Louisiana Department of Transportation Complete Streets Policy
Smart Growth America - Complete Streets A-Z
National Complete Streets Coalition - Smart Growth America
American Heart Association - Voices for Healthy Kids
AARP Complete Streets in the Southeast Toolkit
Walk + Ride: A Resource Guide to Pedestrian, Bicycle and Complete Streets Project Funding