Step 3: Build Great Projects

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

Which projects will best compete for state and local Complete Streets funding?

Funding guidelines have evolved to match local, regional and statewide goals. Projects that can demonstrate that they meet these goals which may be related to reducing greenhouse gasses, improving public health, increase equity, or utilize existing infrastructure investments will be more competitive. Understanding both the outcomes and outputs of projects is critical to prioritization.

Evaluating projects requires evaluating the breadth of goals, data collection, and a quantitative and qualitative evaluation.

Why/how should I look at narrowing our lanes since they are wide to accommodate large trucks, first responders, and transit vehicles?

Lane width is a common tradeoff discussion for many Complete Streets projects. Wider lanes increase automobile speed, create longer crosswalks, and utilize valuable right-of-way. Complete Streets and roadway design guidelines all promote various lane widths dependent on land use context, design vehicles, and presence of people walking and biking.

Retrofitting lane widths can be a way to accommodate bicycle facilities on an existing roadway during regular pavement maintenance activities.

A layered network can help identify which streets should be prioritized to accommodate a large number of buses, trucks, or emergency vehicles.

Landscaping can significantly increase construction and maintenance costs. Why should I incorporate the public realm and landscaping into my roadway design, and to what end?

A “green streets” approach seeks to achieve at least two key goals or storm water management and creating better places for people. Storm water management helps reduce peak flow, and provide treatment of the remaining flow reducing the quantity and improving the quality of the runoff. Green streets also provide comfort and usability through micro-climate modification, promoting all modes of transportation.  In the Sacramento region shade is critical to all users of Complete Streets, especially pedestrians.

Many natural methods as well as manufactured products can be installed to create better green streets.

It takes too long to implement Complete Streets projects. Are there ways to build early project phases more quickly, easily, and cheaply?

Interim design projects evolve from a more permanent, higher-cost design proposal, but can both test the community’s long-term vision for a project and ensure that the community’s needs are addressed in the near-term.  These temporary projects can be opportunities to evaluate the effects of a project, collecting data and feedback to determine if their long-term goals are met with low-cost, short-term installations.  This can help engineers determine if the project should be modified or even abandoned should it have unintended consequences or not achieve desired performance goals.

Interim projects can be incorporated as part of regular pavement maintenance project or as a pilot project to meet a near-term Complete Streets need.