Monday, May 12, 2008

Complete Streets

I've promised that I'd post a little more on the ideas from the Sustainable Transportation workshop so here's one:

Complete Streets

Simply put, a "Complete Street" is one that is useful and accessible for all users. That includes not only cars but also pedestrians and cyclists. The workshop facilitators had us consider streets from three unique perspectives; a senior couple walking, a young girl riding her bike and an adult in a wheelchair.

Some example of the needs of each; the seniors would want a solid, even surface and crossings that give lots of time to get across the street. The girl on her bike needs space to ride safely without having to compete with cars or pedestrians and the adult in the wheelchair needs curbs that are easy to navigate without fear of tipping.

There were many more examples but that gives you and idea. A street that is comfortable and useable for all three is a "Complete Street". There is some great information on the Complete Streets website.

Which brings me to what we see around Grande Prairie....

No wonder people don't walk - it's too much of a hassle!

Of course there are quite a few examples of this kind of thing around the city and there are many reasons why these gaps exist. One part of the issue is our rapid growth - sometimes a neighbourhood springs up and the connections to the older areas just haven't been put in yet. Other times they are what I like to call "sins of the past"; at some point in history we didn't force a new development to put in the infrastructure or it could be that when a development was built our standards didn't call for a sidewalk. Whatever the reason, I think these gaps are exactly the kind of thing that frustrate people and detract from our sense that Grande Prairie is a "nice city". These are exactly the kind of things I want to fix.

Do you have a favourite example of an incomplete street like the one above? If you do mention it in the comments section or email me a picture so I can post it here. My email address is

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bill great post, you're absolutely right about this!
One of the worst offending areas I can think of (and it boggles the mind) is the Gateway area. Think of all the multi-family developments there and think of the roadway system which can't handle the existing traffic (yet more is being built- Fusion Plaza). Normally multi-family developments in a dense area is fine, it's suppose to encourage walking and interactive communities yet the entire neighbhourhood is horrible for walking, few crosswalks, few sidewalks, little access to the commercial areas for anyone disabled (plus really ugly design standards for many of the commercial buildings).
I think Gateway is one of the worst designed areas in the city but some improvements could still be made, such as putting in more sidewalks.
- Darrell


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