Should we talk about complete streets or build them?

In reference to the Better Block, an article in Mother Nature Network  notes, “I could try to describe a complete street as a collection of design elements — sidewalk widths, medians, separated bike lanes café seats — but the best way to understand why the complete street is powerful is to watch one built from scratch. In a single weekend. By untrained volunteers. For less than a thousand bucks.

Well maybe we are not completely untrained. I did have a part in the national manual on retrofiting big streets into complete streets. Then again, I had never painted a lane marking before! Living in a complete street does make you want it every day. Much more than any manual, consultant or beurocrat ever telling you that it is the right thing. I agree even more with another quote from the article, “as the video evidence shows, this was a story about people, community and public space, not an homage to cycling for its own sake.” Bikes are just part of it. A complete street is about all these things and self determination of a greatest public space, the street. Thanks Mother Nature Network for coupling us with our heroes at Gehl Architects.

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