Living Streets

We have built half the transportation system we need for the 21st century, say a number of transportation experts.  Now it’s time to finish the job by building better biking and walking facilities… this ought to be easy in smaller communities.     Active Transportation beyond Urban Centers

Living Streets 
A growing number of communities are discovering the value of their streets as important public spaces for many aspects of daily life. People want streets that are safe to cross or walk along, offer places to meet people, link healthy neighborhoods, and have a vibrant mix of retail. More people are enjoying the value of farmers’ markets, street festivals, and gathering places. And more people want to be able to walk and ride bicycles in their neighborhoods.

Living streets principles embody complete streets and also include consideration of other issues related to economic vibrancy, equity, environmental sustainability, aesthetics, and more.  For more information on living streets, read:  Design Manual for Living Streets.

Complete Streets 
States, cities and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone. A complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all people in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Complete Streets efforts are working to reduce the negative effects of auto-centric streets on people and the community as a whole.  * Auto-only streets serve only those who are able to drive – inaccessible by more than 30% of the population who are either too young or too old to drive or unable to do so for other reasons like cost or handicap.  * Those who walk and ride bicycles on inadequate street infrastructure often do so because they must, putting themselves at great risk.   * Families, community members and businesses are compelled to devote significant resources to basic transportation: purchase and maintenance of multiple automobiles, gasoline, parking, ferrying those who cannot drive, and significant time spent driving.

At our local level, the Complete Streets ideas and car-free travel are represented in many planning efforts and momentum is growing, including: the Shasta County Bike Plan, Redding Bikeway Action Plan and the Anderson and Shasta Lake City Bike Plans, as well as the regional planning represented in the Shasta Forward report.

At the state level, Complete Streets features are now included in all transportation work.  Complete Streets considerations are included in city General Plan updates.  Also, the California Department of Transportation now works to adopt best practice concepts on integrating bicycling and walking into transportation infrastructure and “fully consider the needs of non-motorized travelers (including pedestrians, bicyclists and persons with disabilities) in all programming, planning, maintenance, construction, operations and project development activities and products.”

For more information on Complete Streets, visit: completestreets.org

Resources
There are many great sources of information about the benefits for communities and economic development in developing Complete Streets. Three that we have drawn from and recommend are:

Gil Penalosa – Creating 8-80 Cities

Design Manual for Living Streets

Active Transportation beyond Urban Centers