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B1: How can we get a complete streets policy in Toronto

Page history last edited by XAMthone Plus 9 years, 6 months ago

Complete streets are designed to be safe, convenient and comfortable for every user, regardless of transportation mode, physical ability or age.


Bike Union and TCAT working on how to get this happening in Toronto; looking at what's already in place and how it happened


  • how would it be implemented?  how legally binding would this be?
  • which juridiction? which angle?
    • Provincial Policy Statement review
    • Provincial EA reform opportunities
    • Municipal road reconstruction standards - "build the road you found"
    • CIty of Toronto Act
  • "Triage" with municipal complete streets policies - what do we already have? what is the most important thing we need?
  • "What is a complete street?" - remember not everything is possible to implement given limited space and money
  • What were the policies that were passed to achieve complete streets in the US?
  • are alternative routes included (i.e. "complete bike routes" even if it's not all on one street)
  • are bike lanes always the best idea? --> no, complete streets are way more than bike lanes, also require supportive infrastructure, education
  • more riders = safety in numbers
  • Roads movement in Toronto - assumes space between buildings is for moving between them vs Streets movement - they are destinations of themselves
  • would this apply to new developments only or could it be retrofit?
  • Egan - the city is aware of this and many are supportive - Public Realm office?
  • street design manual - need consistency (e.g. Omaha, New York City)
  • Transit City is changing approach from "how many vehicles can pass by" to "how many PEOPLE can pass by"
  • funding for bike and ped infrastructure must be considered at every stage in the process
  • need to sell it among stakeholders - support is there but must be shared - education campaigns to show stakeholders (e.g. BIAs) how they will benefit
  • how feasible is it to launch a public information campaign?
  • perhaps approach BIAs? they have resources; then the BIA will get to help define it, own the information (then they don't have to take the word of the City or of advocacy groups), etc - "how can our BIA be like Greenwich Village?"
  • marketing - should be focussed on "the average person" - represent cyclists and advocates as ordinary people too


What might a Complete Streets policy look like?


  • "requires the inclusion of facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists wherever a road, street or highway is built or rebuilt. It applies to ODOT, cities and counties. It also requires ODOT, cities and counties to spend reasonable amounts of their share of the state highway fund on facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. These facilities must be located within the right-of-way of public roads, streets or highways open to motor vehicle traffic. The funds cannot be spent on trails in parks or other areas outside of a road, street or highway right-of-way. "


  • "A Complete Street is safe, comfortable, and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle, wheelchair, and transit. Complete Streets are designed, built, operated and maintained taking in consideration the needs of all users (pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, car drivers, the disabled, seniors and children)."

US Congress s.584

  • "The Complete Streets Act of 2009" directs state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to adopt complete streets policies on future federally funded transportation projects within two years.


  • The Complete Streets Act of 2007 will ensure that the transportation plans of California communities meet the needs of all users of the roadway including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of public transit, motorists, children, the elderly, and the disabled.


Rethinking the Street Space: Toolkits and Street Design Manuals

  • The primary goals of the new street design manuals are often quite similar. Common goals include:


  1. Livability and Placemaking. Making streets places to linger and places to cherish.
  2. Access and Mobility: Improving the public right-of-way for all users.
  3. Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety: Supporting design improvements such as raised crosswalks, bulbouts, bike lanes, and roundabouts that improve safety for pedestrians and bike riders.
  4. Flexibility: Giving designers choice, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  5. Context: Designing streets based on their place within a hierarchy of streets and their relationship to surrounding land uses, densities, and commercial activities.
  6. Balance: Maintaining several functions in the street that include safety, roadway infrastructure, environmental sensitivity, and others.
  7. Healthy Environment: Minimizing negative environmental effects and creating places that encourage walking and exercise.
  8. Visual Excellence: Improving the overall aesthetic with an emphasis on high quality, lasting design and materials.



Most manuals begin with some sort of a mission statement setting a new agenda for street space as "a great public resource"



1. calling for routine accommodation of walking and bicycling as a requirement, not as an option, and

2. covering all roads under the jurisdictions’ control (this excludes bike/ped plans that only

call for accommodation on certain streets).



GOAL - to have something to ask mayor candidates to endorse or not.

What we need: something to hand them to gauge their support of the issue


  • Define problem
  • What are we asking them to do?
  • Develop an outline / table of contents for what our Plan should look like

- mission statement - 1 sentence

- executive summary - 1 page

- details / photos etc

- list of other mayors who endorsed it


NEXT STEPS - Join Complete Streets team already in progress

- develop outline of what is needed for this

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