In February 2011, as Chair of the T&E Committee, I convened a panel to discuss the concept and applications of complete streets. Although Montgomery County has not adopted an explicit complete streets policy, many of its aspects are already being carried out to a greater or lesser degree. A few years ago the Council adopted a law and a subsequent Executive regulation incorporating some design elements of complete streets in the Road Construction Code, especially in urban areas. However, a follow-up effort updating intersection design standards has not yet been initiated.
According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, Complete Streets are "streets for everyone". They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a complete street. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations. Creating complete streets means transportation agencies must change their approach to community roads. By adopting a Complete Streets policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
To view the panel's presentation to the T&E Committee, click here. To learn more about Complete Streets, visit www.completestreets.org.