What is a “Complete street”?
“Complete streets” are streets that are designed to provide safe and comfortable access for people of all ages, gender, abilities, and modes of travel–including pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and motorists (Complete Streets for Canada).
To accommodate all users, complete streets often include features such as on-road bike lanes, wider sidewalks, protected crossings, landscaped areas, and traffic calming measures.
There is no one-size-fits-all complete street design; what is considered to be a “Complete Street” will vary between communities and wards in the City of Ottawa.
Where are we now?
The City of Ottawa adopted a Complete Streets Policy in 2013, and a Complete Streets Implementation Framework in 2015. These measures signal a potential game-changer in the urban form of Ottawa, and could positively affect our city’s transportation network for generations to come. Now, city planners and engineers will look at streets as more than through-ways for cars. Instead, they will systematically adopt a complete streets lens, looking at the complex interactions between various modes of travel and seeking ways to prioritize the user experience for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.
As of March 2018, Ecology Ottawa is working on a detailed report outlining the challenges and opportunities presented by Ottawa’s complete streets approach, a few years into the adoption of these policies. We want to see whether and how much they have improved our city’s transportation network, and identify the next steps that need to be undertaken in order to scale up this approach.
Please check back here soon for the report, expected in spring 2018. Using findings from the report, we will also highlight areas in which you can get involved to make a difference for your community,