April 2019 Connecticut Economic Digest

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Complete Streets are Sweet

By Al Sylvestre, Research Analyst, Department of Labor

Because every trip begins and ends on foot, universal access to work, education, and recreation is the guiding principle that gave rise to complete streets, the design and operation of streets that are safe for all users inclusive of people with disabilities and public transit users as well as motorized and non-motorized vehicle operators. Since 2009, the Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), guided by its Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board (Bike and Ped Board), is bringing safer commuting to Connecticut’s cities and towns. This article illustrates some benefits attributable to complete streets along with a brief description of how ConnDOT supports municipal efforts to bring complete streets to their residents.

The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) outlines five categories of Complete Streets’ benefits in its bike and ped plan for the region:

Focused on vision, goals, and strategy developed with public input, ConnDOT updated its bike and ped plan and map to support complete streets. The update included these projects and programs:

In the ten years since Connecticut has had complete streets as a matter of law, it has seen increased complete streets’ acceptance from New Haven’s first-in-the-state complete streets ordinance, bike-share program, and signalized bike lanes to East Hartford’s first complete streets project on a state road to Metro North’s installation of bike racks on its trains. With the adoption of complete streets plans in an increasing number of municipalities, the state is on a path to widespread adoption of complete streets’ universal design concepts. Inclusion of people with disabilities and other communities for whom complete streets break down the barriers of isolation will give them equal opportunity to contribute to the community at large.

1 Clustered housing, generally associated with greater walkability, allows developers to build more homes on less total land.

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