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Not All City Streets Are “Complete”

PHOTO: Neighborhood street with trees and cars.
PHOTO: Neighborhood street with trees and cars.
August 24, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa – The National Complete Streets Coalition has found that more and more communities are trying to make roadways safer and more user-friendly by making their streets "complete."

Streets are more than just a way to move people in cars from 'Point A' to 'Point B,' says Doug Adamson, who is not only a member of the city of Carlisle Planning and Zoning Committee but a landscape architect. He explains many streets built in recent years are what might be called "incomplete."

"Those are streets that are too often designed with basically only the car in mind, and they obviously do not take into consideration walking, the pedestrian, bicycling, public transportation."

If the community you live in doesn't support all types of transportation, says Adamson, you need to make city leaders aware of the Complete Street method.

"It's as easy as going down to City Hall and talking to your city administrator or your Planning and Zoning, your council members, and encouraging them to adopt a 'Complete Street' policy."

He says incomplete streets constructed in the last 30 years can be refitted with sidewalks or other improvements that can help ensure people live in neighborhoods where it's easy to drive, walk, bike or take public transportation.

The group 1000 Friends of Iowa has a workbook for Iowa cities and towns to help them analyze their policies and work toward creating Complete Streets. Request it at

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA