Step 2: Plan Complete Streets

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The following section answers common questions and provides resources for this step in the Complete Streets cycle.

What are my options if I don’t have room/right-of-way to accommodate all users on my roadways?

A layered network approach designates modal emphasis by street to create a Complete Streets network. Layered networks recognize that while all traveler types need to be accommodated within a community; no single street can accommodate all transportation users at all times. The layered network concept envisions streets as systems, each street type designed to create a high quality experience for its intended users. A layered network approach can also use context sensitive land use and mode overlays to enhance additional transportation modes.

Layered network plans can be created for jurisdictions of all sizes from small cities to countywide efforts.

What should I consider regarding transit, when it’s up to the transit agency to provide better transit accommodations and services?

Transit service is more than trains and buses, the ability to access transit stations and bus stops is critical to enhancing mobility for all users. First-mile and last-mile connections need to be evaluated and improved by local agencies Complete Streets efforts in concert with transit service planning and operations.

Learn more about low stress bikeway connections and bicycle amenities that can help connect to your transit network.

Also creating better sidewalks environments that enable and encourage transit can have many co-benefits for your community.

Partnering with your transit provider during the planning process of a layered network can help prioritize specific streets for high frequency and efficient transit.

With the increasing federal and state emphasis on safety targets and performance, what options do I have other than trails and overcrossings to improve safety for people on foot or bicycle?

Many of our roadway currently adopted roadway standards are based on State and Federal standards for highways with the sole focus of moving automobiles efficiently. A Complete Street approach focuses on slowing vehicles, improving intersections and crossings, and creating separation between active users who are walking and biking.

Retrofitting existing corridors is an exercise in applying current best practices found in Complete Streets guides such as those created by NACTO and prioritizing roadway right-of-way based on community goals.

Caltrans has added new bikeway design standards to their toolkits for separated bikeway and cycle tracks that can be utilized to create safer and lower stress bikeways.

How do I approach parking when businesses and residents say there is never enough?

Parking is one potential use for limited street right-of-way that should be considered in planning and design process. On-street parking can help calm traffic, create a physical separation for a cycle track, and enhance retail areas but may not be needed on every street. Evaluating how parking meets overall project goals compared to other mobility enhancements should be considered when retrofitting Complete Streets.

Learn about how to measure and evaluate your Complete Streets goals, including parking tradeoffs.

My community doesn’t have Lyft or Uber, so why/how should I be planning for them?

With the increasing concern for balancing the needs for all roadway users, and the growth of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, as well as online shopping and associated deliveries, demand for curbside pickups, drop-offs is growing dramatically. Our roadways need to adapt to accommodate these changes. Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft convert the demand for parking into passenger-loading.

Curbside management should be a key consideration in all Complete Street planning moving forward.

Automated vehicles will never happen in my lifetime, so why do I need to plan for them now?

Automated vehicles have the potential to dramatically change our roadways. It’s now more important than ever to have an eye towards the future transportation technologies as we design and retrofit our corridors. Proactive planning versus reactive designs will give communities the best chance to efficiently meet their mobility and livability goals.

Emerging technologies will impact congestion and roadway capacity, safety for all users, and how our roadways interface with the built environment.