Complete Streets+

What are Complete Streets+?

Complete Streets are planned, designed and constructed for everyones safety. On these streets, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transit riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across streets.

There is no single design for all Complete Streets but they can include good sidewalks, crosswalks, speed humps, public lighting, bus shelters, and bike lanes. A ‘+’ is added to Complete Streets when they incorporate green stormwater management that reduces the flow of stormwater into the sewer system.

There are many different examples of Complete Streets+ in Detroit, including Livernois in the Avenue of Fashion.

Why Detroit needs Complete Streets+?

  • Reducing Speeding. One main benefit of Complete Street designs is they reduce speeding without the need for police enforcement. Speed humps, narrowed roadways, street trees, and other features encourage drivers to travel at the speed limit.
  • Saving Lives. Detroit has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates among all US cities. Lives are saved with reduced speeding. When crashes occur, it is primarily the vehicle’s speed that determines whether people are killed or seriously injured, especially for vulnerable road users likes pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Improving Health. Detroit has disproportionately high rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardio-metabolic conditions, all of which have stress- and physical inactivity-related causes. By providing active transportation options like walking and biking, Complete Streets can improve physical health and mental health.
  • Increasing Travel Choices. 22% of Detroit households don’t have vehicles and the high cost of car ownership (including insurance) makes them unaffordable. In addition, many younger or older residents cannot drive. Complete Streets provide more options for everyone to get where they want to go.
  • Helping Local Businesses. Complete Streets in retail areas are often called streetscapes. Improving streets and investing in local business development can make retail areas flourish. This also makes is easier for nearby residents to walk or bike to local businesses.
  • Handling Stormwater. When it rains, stormwater runs off paved roads into the sewer system. Climate Change is causing more major rain events where this runoff overwhelms the system and causes flooding. Complete Streets+ with green stormwater features like bioswales reduce road runoff and reduce the burden on the sewage system.
  • Addressing Climate Change. Motor vehicles that burn fossil fuels release greenhouse gas emissions that increase Climate Change. More Climate Change means more flooding and extreme heat events. Complete Streets encourage walking, biking, and public transit, which are the most effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They also can help reduce urban heat effects with increased street trees and more shade.

These talking points are included in this printable PDF, What are Complete Streets+.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure on Livernois Avenue in Detroit

How do I get more involved?

You can stay up to date on Complete Streets+ projects and a future proposed ordinance by:

Complete Streets+ Project

We are working with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to make green stormwater management a regular feature of Detroit street reconstruction. We are collaborating with peer cities across the U.S., researching best practices, helping educate City Council, and looking at a Complete Streets+ ordinance.

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