Although some cities may act like it, streets aren't just for private vehicles. They are for pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, public transportation vehicles, and so on and so forth. This idea is certainly not new news to most TH readers, but what is new is that now some localities are actually doing something about it.
Progressive localities such as Seattle, Charlotte and Sacramento are starting to design streets specifically to serve multiple uses, not just one dominant type of transportation. The movement is being spearheaded by "Complete the Streets," an advocacy program started by American Bikes, and soon after endorsed by groups ranging from the Congress for New Urbanism to the AARP. Incomplete streets, hunks of blacktop with solid yellow and dotted white lines devoted to the private automobile, are frowned upon. "Complete" streets take ideas such as dedicated bike lanes, reduced street width, transit accommodations and pedestrian medians to make non-automobile users of streets safer and more apt to use different ways of getting around.According to Complete the Streets
The streets of our cities and towns ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams. They’re unsafe for people on foot or bike — and unpleasant for everybody.
Redefining the street discussion in terms of complete/incomplete is not only a great way to take back the streets, it brings about a chance to bring together the different groups vying to do so. Health, biking, walking and public transport advocates can be grouped into one movement with one unified voice. The streets are for everyone, and it's about time we treated them that way.