Public Act 135 of 2010 defines Complete Streets as “…roadways planned, designated, and constructed to provide appropriate access to all legal users in a manner that promotes safe and efficient movement of people and goods whether by car, truck, transit, assistive device, foot, or bicycle.”
The Complete Streets Policy is a guide in adopting effective and efficient approaches to incorporating the needs of all road users in the planning, design and implementation of transportation projects. In addressing the travel needs of all community members, the policy should fit local community contexts, reflect local values and bolster environmental, aesthetic, historic and economic qualities of the community, all the while addressing the primary concern of improving safety and mobility. To meet these aspirations, a Complete Streets approach requires careful multi-modal evaluation for transportation corridors and projects, combined with planning principles that prioritize the well-being of all road users.
The aim of Complete Streets Policy is to:
- Ensure that the safety and mobility needs of all users of transportation system are accommodated;
- Recognize the diverse needs of different transportation users;
- Create a comprehensive and connected transportation network that promoted integrated, sustainable development and attractive and economically vibrant communities;
- Ensure the use of best design standards and guidelines, encouraging the appropriate use of a range of non-motorized facility types to improve the ease of mobility for those users;
- Ensure that planning and design solutions fit in within their local contexts.
The Midland MPO (MATS) was designated in January 2013 to program and manage the allocation of federal funds to multi-modal transportation projects within the MPO boundaries. MATS supports the concept of Complete Streets and will implement a Complete Streets Program, considering provision of non-motorized facilities during review of proposed transportation projects within its planning area, keeping with the goal of accommodating all forms of travel (including automobiles, bicycles, pedestrians, personal mobility devices, transit and freight). All road projects (including new, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration) are subject to this policy.
The guiding policy for the MATS’ Complete Streets Program is to promote, program and fund projects that provide safe and convenient access for all users. An array of non-motorized transportation facilities and amenities, such as: 1) sidewalks, 2) bike lanes, 3) Non-motorized paths, 4) ADA Accessible crosswalks and ramps, 5) pedestrian crossings at signalized intersections, 6) mid-block crossings, 7) improved signals and signs, 8) bicyclist and pedestrian way-finding, 9) improved lighting, 10) traffic calming measures, 11) bridges with non-motorized access, and 12) road diets, among others, should be considered while planning road projects. The best and latest complete street design standards and guidelines are to be utilized, encouraging the appropriate use of a range of non-motorized facilities and a host of other mechanisms to improve the ease of mobility for all road users.
Complete Streets and their viability can be impacted by planning and permitting as well as infrastructure. MATS will work with local governments to encourage thoughtful planning and permitting that supports the goals and objectives of Complete Streets. MATS recognizes the long-term nature of transportation investment and will promote non-motorized facilities in response to not only the current transportation demand, but also likely future uses as well.
MATS requires that all projects proposed for inclusion in TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) submit a form indicating the extent that the project will accommodate Complete Streets intent and goals, or that the project should be considered exempt. The MATS Technical Committee will review project proposals, grant approvals and exemptions, and recommend non-motorized improvements as appropriate. As part of project review, MATS will consider:
- Local context and recognize that needs vary according to regional urban, suburban, and rural settings;
- The functional classification of the roadway, as defined by the Federal Highway Administration;
- The safety and varying mobility needs of all legal users of the roadway, of all ages and abilities, as well as public safety;
- The cost of incorporating complete streets facilities into the project and whether that cost is justifiable based on overall project cost, as well as proportional to the current or future need or probable use of the complete streets facility;
- Whether additional funding needed to incorporate the complete streets facility into the project is available from federal, state, local, or private sources.
A roadway project may be deemed exempt from the Complete Streets requirements if any of the following conditions are met:
- The project involves a roadway that bicyclists and pedestrians are prohibited by law from using;
- There are extreme topographic or natural feature constraints;
- When factors indicate an absence of need for non-motorized facilities presently and in the 20-or-more year horizon;
- A reasonable and equivalent alternative already exists;
- The costs of including non-motorized accommodations can be demonstrated to be greatly disproportional to the projected benefits from their inclusion.
The Local Implementing Agency and its governing body shall retain the final authority over their road projects with respect to non-motorized facilities (build/not build decisions and design choice decisions).