November 2012 – For decades roads have been built with automobiles as the primary focus, but more and more states, cities and towns are embracing an all-inclusive approach to transportation. According to Smart Growth America, a national organization that promotes better ways to maintain cities and towns, Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities.
Complete Streets differ depending on the needs and characteristics of a particular community, but common improvements include the addition of sidewalks, dedicated bicycle lanes or widened paved shoulders, dedicated bus lanes, accessible public transit stops, frequent safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes to calm automobile traffic, and roundabouts, among others.
Illinois was the first state to adopt a Complete Streets law, with the General Assembly nearly unanimously voting to override a gubernatorial veto in 2008. The resulting law requires the Illinois Department of Transportation to include safe bicycling and walking facilities in all of their projects in urbanized areas. The City of St. Louis and other Missouri communities like Ferguson, Clayton, DeSoto, Festus, Crystal City, Herculaneum and Pevely have all adopted formal Complete Streets policies. And communities like Belleville, Ill., are also incorporating Complete Streets features in their improvement projects.
Many of TWM’s recent projects have involved Complete Streets elements in their planning and design. They include the Green Campus Initiative at Southwestern Illinois College, where the firm is designing an extension of the MetroBikeLink Trail, safe crossings, a roundabout and other improvements to make the campus safer and more pedestrian-friendly. TWM has become the go-to firm for bike trails in Southwest Illinois with multiple extensions of MetroBikeLink along the MetroLink alignment in St. Clair County, design of bicycle facilities for Madison County Transit, and numerous other bike trail projects for local communities in Madison, Monroe, St. Clair and Randolph Counties. TWM has also incorporated pedestrian improvements along Huntwood Road and IL Route 159 in Swansea, Ill., and pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements on Monroe Street in St. Charles, Mo.
If your community wants to develop a Complete Streets policy or needs help implementing the concept on an upcoming project, give us a call.