Complete streets — sometimes referred to as livable streets — are roadways designed for safe and convenient travel by users of all ages and abilities. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders must be able to safely move along and across a complete street.
Transportation Outlook 2040, the Kansas City region's current long-range transportation plan, envisions a transportation system that meets the needs of all users and offers broad mobility choices. The plan includes policies and strategies that support implementing complete streets.
Complete streets policies are recognized as an important element in achieving the region's goals of a comprehensive transportation system. These policies provide a planning and political framework for using transportation investments to ensure that rights of way are routinely designed and operated to enable safe access for all users.
Why design complete streets?
Improve public safety
By making roads more accessible for all modes of transportation, complete streets provide safe and convenient travel for persons of all ages and abilities, including children and the elderly.
Promote good health
Complete streets make active living easy by providing streets and sidewalks that encourage walking and biking. They build a physical environment where residents are connected and mobile.
Provide economic benefits
Complete streets create attractive transportation corridors that make businesses both inviting and easily accessible. Attractive corridors increase property value and visibility for both homes and business owners.
Enhance environmental quality
Not only do complete streets improve air quality by providing space that encourages low-emission travel, they include effective green infrastructure that retain and treat stormwater runoff and improve water quality. Also, complete streets provide landscaping elements that can reduce the heat island effect in urban communities.
Ensure long-term savings
Costs for complete streets might be more initially, but are offset by the many long-term benefits they bring. Complete streets may reduce construction and maintenance costs when roadways are narrowed and stormwater is more efficiently managed.
Using grant funds from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, MARC has helped support introducing complete streets policies and implementation at the local level. This work included workshops on accommodating all modes in constrained rights of way, and conceptual designs for two communities on pilot projects. Consulting assistance was also provided in updating the Kansas City Metropolitan Chapter of the American Public Works Association bicycle facilities design guidelines. A companion guide for pedestrian facilities will be drafted in 2012.
MARC complete streets policy
MARC has developed its own complete streets policy to help guide planning and programming activities. A task force, composed of members from MARC transportation modal and programming committees, drafted the policy for input and approval from the Total Transportation Policy Committee and the MARC Board. The policy was adopted March 27, 2012.
MARC worked with a consultant in the fall of 2011 to create a complete streets policy handbook as a resource for local jurisdictions on how to adopt and implement complete streets policies in communities.
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