What are Complete Streets?
Complete streets are streets that accommodate everyone. When we plan, construct, and maintain streets for all users — including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities — we make it easier, safer, and more convenient for people to get around.
How do you create a Complete Street?
There is no “one size fits all” approach to Complete Streets. To determine what facilities and accommodations are most appropriate, we must consider the context of the roadway (urban, suburban, rural, etc.), potential users (walkers, bikers, transit riders, etc.), and where people are likely to be coming from (origins) and going to (destinations). For example, in a place with lots of houses and/or businesses it makes sense to have sidewalks, but in rural places with fewer people and low traffic volumes, a wide shoulder might be sufficient to use for walking.
What is Vermont’s Complete Streets law?
In 2011 Governor Shumlin signed into law Act 34 which requires the state and all municipalities to consider the needs of all users in all projects and all phases, regardless of funding sources. The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) developed internal guidance for their staff regarding Act 34, and a handbook for municipalities was created with funding from the Vermont Department of Health’s Fit and Healthy Vermonters Program. Technical expertise and oversight for the municipal guide was provided by AARP Vermont, VTrans, Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. This local guide is a tool that identifies what the law means, describes a process for considering complete streets principles, and provides examples of complete street projects from across Vermont. Both the municipal Complete Streets guide and the VTrans evaluation matrix (see links below) describe potential facilities for different users based on a range of considerations.