Littleton’s Complete Streets Policy, developed together with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), today won recognition as being the best in the nation by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of national non-profit Smart Growth America. The policy, passed late last year, encourages planners and engineers to design and build streets that are safe and convenient for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel. The National Complete Streets Coalition reviewed every policy passed in the United States in 2013 and scored each of the approximately 80 policies according to 10 elements of an ideal Complete Streets policy:
- Vision: The policy establishes a motivating vision for why the community wants Complete Streets: for improved safety, better health, increased efficiency, convenience of choices, or other reasons.
- All users and modes: The policy specifies that “all modes” includes walking, bicycling, riding public transportation, driving trucks, buses and automobiles and “all users” includes people of all ages and abilities.
- All projects and phases: All types of transportation projects are subject to the policy, including design, planning, construction, maintenance, and operations of new and existing streets and facilities.
- Clear, accountable exceptions: Any exceptions to the policy are specified and approved by a high-level official.
- Network: The policy recognizes the need to create a comprehensive, integrated and connected network for all modes and encourages street connectivity.
- Jurisdiction: All other agencies that govern transportation activities can clearly understand the policy’s application and may be involved in the process as appropriate.
- Design: The policy recommends use of the latest and best design criteria and guidelines, while recognizing the need for flexibility to balance user needs.
- Context sensitivity: The current and planned context—buildings, land use and transportation needs—is considered in planning and design solutions for transportation projects.
- Performance measures: The policy includes performance standards with measurable outcomes.
- Implementation steps: Specific next steps for implementing the policy are described.
Littleton’s score of 94.4 out of 100 possible points was the highest in the country.
MAPC’s region has had success in adopting complete streets in other communities, as well. In November, the Town of Maynard’s Board of Selectmen became the first community in the MAPC region to adopt a complete streets policy. Its score was a 71.2, well above the median score of 60. MAPC is now working with approximately half a dozen other communities — including cities and towns, suburban and urban areas, small communities and large — on adopting similar policies.