Complete Streets

2011-0331-Complete_Streets114The Detroit Greenways Coalition helps lead the Detroit Complete Streets Coalition in conjunction with our work in the Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. Since 2010 we have engaged Detroit communities on the topic of Complete Streets. As a result of many listening sessions, we’ve learned that Detroit Complete Streets priorities must align with those of the community. We’ve learned that blight removal and public lighting are among the highest priorities.  In some neighborhoods, speeding traffic is a major concern. With this information we look to shape city policies — especially through a city ordinance — to address these needs and build Complete Streets.

What are Complete Streets?

Complete streets are roadways planned, designed and constructed for everyone’s safety. On these streets, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across streets. There is no one design for all Complete Streets but they often include such things as good sidewalks, crosswalks, public lighting, and bike lanes.

Why should we have complete streets policies?

Complete streets policies direct our transportation planners and engineers to consistently design with all users in mind including: drivers, public transportation vehicles and riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists as well as older people, children, and people with disabilities. Additionally, Complete Streets allow for more transportation choices within the community, which can help residents commute from one end of the city to the other. We want Complete Street Policies at the federal, state, county and local levels so that we’re all working on this together to improve all our roads.

Click the above image for a copy of our Detroit Complete Streets brochure

Get a copy of our recent Detroit Complete Streets brochure

What do complete streets look like?

There is no cookie-cutter answer for what Complete Streets look like. These are the common features for complete streets, which may not appear on every street.

  • Better sidewalks
  • Mid-block pedestrian crossings
  • Sidewalk bulb-outs to narrow the crosswalk distance
  • Refuge medians so you can safely cross half the road at one time.
  • Bus shelters
  • Special bus lanes for improved transit service
  • Functional public lighting
  • Abandoned structures that are secured or demolished
  • Pedestrian walk signals with countdown timers
  • Bike lanes

Why do we need complete streets?

  • Makes our roads and community safer and more livable
  • Gives Detroiters more transportation choices that can save money and help us get exercise!
  • Helps young people bike and walk to school safely
  • Makes it easier for our seniors and those with disabilities to safely cross the street
  • Attracts businesses to Detroit that bring new jobs
  • Gives us greener ways to get around our city
  • This is the future and what other major cities are doing around the world!

How can I get involved with Complete Streets?

The Detroit Complete Streets Coalition meets every other month. To get involved, please email

You can Like us on Facebook, too!

What our supporters say:

  • Detroit Residents: “Implementing Complete the Streets, would ensure access for everyone.”
  • AARP: “AARP views Complete Streets as a critical component of a liveable community.”
  • Corktown Residents’ Council: “Active infrastructure will make our communities more walkable, bikable, and livable… This will be great for our community.”
  • Detroit Medical Center: “Complete Streets promote public health by making it safe and convenient for children and families to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives as a way to combat the obesity epidemic, which is rampant in Detroit.”
  • Giffels-Webster Engineers: “The adoption of the Complete Streets ordinance will spur positive investmentin Detroit’s future by providing opportunities for children and families to be physically active in a safe environment, and by creating vibrant places where the best and brightest want to live and businesses want to locate.”
  • Healthy Environments Partnership: “Complete Streets improve safety and reduce crashes by providing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, such as safe crossings, sidewalks, or on-road bicycle lanes.”
  • Henry Ford Health System: “Complete Streets [are] designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road.”
  • Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance: “Complete Streets is a national movement that has been embraced…”
  • Southeast Michigan Council of Governments: “Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities can move safely along and across a complete street.”
  • Warren/Conner Development Coalition: “Clearly, supporting Complete Streets is investing in a stronger and healthier Detroit.”
  • Wayne State University: “The adoption of a Complete Streets ordinance would support efforts by helping to build the infrastructure needed to spur additional investment, improve safety, and promoting a higher quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”
  • Warriors on Wheels: “A Complete Streets ordinance encourages Detroit to consider infrastructure as a way to create more walkable, bikeable, wheelchair and hand-cycle passable places.”

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