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Complete Streets

Complete Streets is an approach to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining streets that enables safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. The concept of Complete Streets is often spotlighted in urban contexts, but its core objectives extend to rural communities like those in the Upper Valley. The adoption of a Complete Streets policy can lead to safer, more equitable, and walkable communities that improve the quality of life for all.

Why do "Complete Streets" matter in rural contexts?
When many people think about rural areas, images of homes spread out among forests or farmland come to mind. Destinations are far away from one another. While some of this narrative is true, most small towns have a village center or geographically bounded area where most of the population lives. The village center often concentrates on public spaces like schools, parks, libraries, playgrounds, etc. and Complete Streets connects individuals to these services. The application of Complete Streets in urban areas is similar. However, Complete Streets may look different in rural versus urban contexts. For example, protected bike lanes with “bollards” (plastic delineators) are often seen in cities with high traffic volumes. For a community of fewer than 1,000 residents in our region, a treatment like this would not be necessary. A sidewalk serving a critical connection may be more appropriate. That being said, every solution is site-specific, and a Complete Streets approach provides the framework to generate optimal outcomes.

Interested in learning more?

See our complete streets presentation and policy overview below:

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