What are Complete Streets?
A Complete Street describes a public right of way that provides safe and accessible options for people of all ages, abilities, and modes of travel. A network of Complete Streets expands travel choices by making it easy for people to cross the road, walk to school, bicycle to work, or hop on and off buses and trains. Complete Streets are designed with all users in mind, and they make non-motorized transportation more convenient, attractive, and safer. "Complete Streets are streets for everyone." Smart Growth America
Why Complete Streets?
Complete Streets help create livable communities for various types of users, including children, people with disabilities, and older adults. Complete Streets improve equity, safety, choice and public health, while reducing transportation costs and improving connectivity.
What does a Complete Street look like?
Complete Streets are context sensitive. They have no fixed design because each right of way is different in place and purpose. A Complete Street in an urban area will look very different from a Complete Street in a rural area. What matters is that the elements of each street reflect the needs of the people who use it, regardless of age, ability, or mode of travel.
Complete Streets elements can be realized on a large sale (e.g., intersection improvements) or can be more narrowly focused (e.g., adding a single bicycle lane or crosswalk). The MassDOT Highway Division identifies the following as examples;
|Complete Streets Infrastructure or Project Types|
|ADA/AAB-accessible curb ramps||Road diets|
|Audible pedestrian signals||Roundabouts|
|Bicycle parking facilites||Signal prioritization|
|Bus pull-out areas||Shared lanes and shared-use path|
|Curb extensions||Street linghting|
|Designated bicycle lanes||Street trees and furniture|
|Detectable warning surfaces||Traffic calming measures|
|High-visibility corsswalks||Transit-only lanes|
|Intersection signalization||Transit shelters|
|Median and pedestrian crossing islands||Sidewalks|
|Pedestrian hybrid beacons||Sped tables and raised crosswalks|
|Radar feedback ("Your Speed") signage||Wayfinding signage|
Complete Streets in Massachusetts
In 2006, the Massachusetts Highway Department, which was succeeded by MassDOT, became one of the first transportation agencies in the country to realize the need to consider all users when building and renovating streets, parks, sidewalks, and parking lots statewide. At that time, MassDOT developed its Project Development & Design Guide.
With the Governor’s Transportation Policy Directive of 2014 and legislation, the MA Department of Public Health and MassDOT together established a funding program to encourage municipalities to routinely include Complete Streets design elements and infrastructure on locally-funded roads. This program consists of three tiers: Tier 1 - Establish a Complete Streets Policy; Tier 2 – Create a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan; Tier 3 – obtain funding for implementation of the improvements noted in the Tier 2 plan.
Since its launch in February 2016, 236 municipalities have registered to the program and 210 Complete Street Policies have been approved by MassDOT. Since the initiation of the program, funds have been used to construct improvements ranging from new sidewalks and crosswalk rehabilitation to bus stop improvement and installation of bicycle and shared lane markings.
Complete Streets in Milford
This summer, the Town of Milford will approve a Complete Streets Policy. This policy, like others throughout the Commonwealth, will disclose that all state, town, and private projects in Milford take road users of all ages, abilities, and modes of transportation into consideration and set out reasonable definitions of where such consideration might be infeasible. It also sets out design guidance, standards, recommendations, and best practices from both governmental and non-governmental organization to be used by designers for the implementation of the Complete Streets Policy.
Developing Milford’s Tier 2 Complete Streets Prioritization Plan
The Town of Milford was awarded a grant from MassDOT to develop a Tier 2 Complete Streets Prioritization Plan and this project has recently begun. This process involves assessing needs such as pedestrian connections, safe pedestrian crossings, safe bicycle routes, among many others. In addition to professional assessment and observation, public input in this process is important and welcomed. As part of the project, an online tool has been set up to allow residents and interested parties to input directly to the project. Anyone who has experienced a problem or has an idea related to street safety and travel options in Milford is encouraged to access the Town of Milford Complete Streets wikimap, so that the project team can be aware of these issues as the Plan is developed.
For more information on the program, please visit Massachusetts Complete Streets, National Association of City Transportation Officials and Smart Growth America.
If you have any further questions or comments on the Complete Streets Project, please email the Highway Surveyor Scott Crisafulli or call the Highway Department at (508) 473-1274.