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+.
How do I get more involved?
You can stay up to date on Complete Streets+ projects and a future proposed ordinance by:
- Get involved in the City of Detroit’s Streets for People transportation planning effort
- Signing up for the Detroit Greenways Coalition newsletter
- Liking us on Facebook
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.
- DPW Complete Streets, City of Detroit
- Complete Streets: Detroit’s Streetscape Program (video), City of Detroit
- What can Detroit learn from Copenhagen about bike lanes? A Q&A with an international bike expert, City of Detroit
- Vital Streets Program: Improving Transportation, City of Grand Rapids
- DPW Complete Streets, City of Milwaukee
- MDOT Complete Streets Policy, State of Michigan
- NAACP Childhood Obesity Advocacy Manual, NAACP
- Here’s how road diets have transformed Metro Detroit – and where they’re going next, Metromode, December 2019
- Is Your Local Road Ready for a Bike Lane?, WDET, August 2019
- Delray Complete Streets, Gordie Howe International Bridge, October 2018
- NAACP: A Walkable Built Environment Is a “Premier Civil Rights Issue”, Streetsblog, October 2013
- Complete Streets Resolution, City of Hamtramck, 2010