What is a complete street?

First of all, a complete street is for everyone.

Whether you’re walking, biking, driving, taking a bus — whatever you need to do in order to get from one place to another — a complete street is a place that is designed for safe use for everyone.

In Athens, complete streets means changing our approach to how we design and improve our roads. By adopting a comprehensive complete streets policy, we empower our transportation planners and engineers to plan, design, and operate all roads so that they allow safe access for all users, regardless of the type of transportation they are using. As a result, every road project, from a repaving to an entirely new street, makes all our roads better and safer for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users.

It’s about quality of life. It’s about safety. It’s about equality.

But note that complete streets is not a “one size fits all” plan. Each street is unique and brings its own set of community or neighborhood contexts. Items in a complete street toolbox include:

  • Sidewalks
  • Bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders)
  • Special bus lanes
  • Comfortable and accessible public transportation stops
  • Frequent and safe crossing opportunities\
  • Median islands
  • Accessible pedestrian signals
  • Curb extensions
  • Narrower travel lanes
  • Roundabouts
  • …And more!

See what complete streets looks like.

By changing our policies to incorporate a comprehensive complete streets plan, we give more people the ability to make travel choices that are more convenient, affordable, and safe. People don’t have to rely on cars, and roads become more efficient and are able to increase their capacity simply by offering more choices. Complete streets also give communities an inexpensive way to create more roadways at a low cost. Many of the ways to implement complete streets projects are low cost, fast, and have a large impact on the community. And building more sidewalks and striping bike lanes has been shown to create more jobs than traditional car-focused transportation projects.