Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Complete Streets Goes Global

Better Streets, Better Cities: A Guide to Street Design in Urban India, from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy and the Environmental Planning Collaborative might be intended for India, but it provides a nice template for complete streets guides anywhere in the world.

The guide begins by explaining in general what makes a "complete street," introducing the concept of the shared zone where pedestrians, bikes, and slow-moving vehicles use the roadway together and the mobility zone for faster-moving transit and other vehicles. It also outlines six key principles of complete streets design: 
  • Safety
  • Mobility
  • Pedestrian Accessibility
  • Liveability
  • Sensitivity to Local Context
  • Creative Use of Space
The remainder of the guide is devoted to a detailed explanation of each street element (bike lanes, median refuges, bus rapid transit lanes), identifying the purpose, significance and challenges to each,  an extensive collection of street design templates, and a step-by-step outline explaining how to redesign a roadway to transform it into a "complete" street. The guide places particular importance on understanding how pedestrians and others use the street before creating a new design, a step seems to be often lost in our top-down, cookie-cutter approach to street design.

While some of the concepts laid out in the guide may not apply here in the US (e.g. in most cities street vending is not such an integral component of the landscape), it's worth taking a look at Better Streets, Better Cities if you're hoping to create a complete streets policy of your own.

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