News & Updates

Boston's Complete Streets Program Highlighted in May Issue of Planning Magazine

May 20, 2014

Boston's Complete Streets Guidelines and projects throughout Boston were highlighted in the May issue of Planning, the American Planning Association's official magazine. 
"Complete Streets" is a now well-popularized strategy for street design which provides all users - pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders - the same rights and safe access to roads. The movement gained traction in 2003, touting features such as ample sidewalks, improved standards for landscape elements, bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, and curb extensions. 
Boston's guidelines were spearheaded by the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) with the aim of creating streets that are both great public spaces and sustainable transportation networks. The BRA and other City partners were involved in development of the guidelines. An interactive website and illustrated guide were produced as resources for local planners and constituents, as well as for interested parties from other cities. 
The three main goals of Boston's Complete Street guidelines include: 
  • Mulitimodal: Boston is known as a walking City, bit it's also seeing a growing share of bicyclists and a steady amount of transit users. The guidelines attempt to balance these users' needs with those of motorists. 
  • Green: By installing more permeable pavement, more street trees, and other landscaping changes, Boston is mitigating its urban heat island effects and storm water runoff issues, while making its sidewalks more beautiful. 
  • Smart: Boston, like many cities, is seeking ways to intelligently incorporate technology into its transportation. Complete Streets strategies include installing in-ground parking sensors, implementing transportation demand management tools, and promoting transportation-focused smartphone apps. 
As of 2014, Boston's Complete Street guidelines are being implemented by throughout the City, whether in a BTD-sponsored parklet; in programs like Connect Historic Boston; in planning projects like the Mt. Vernon Street Redesign; or by private developers refurbishing sidewalks and bicycle lanes as part of their community benefits commitments. 
"Complete Streets Come of Age" was co-authored by Corey Zehngebot, senior urban designer and architect at the BRA. The full text of the article can be read on Planning's website or viewed here.


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