What are Complete and Green Streets?
Complete & Green Streets are part of a movement where municipalities, counties and states adopt policies that require road engineering and design projects to consider the everyone who uses the roadway, while addressing stormwater and other environmental issues at the same time.
Section 11206 of the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), defines Complete Streets standards or policies as those which “ensure the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles.” This section of the BIL requires that States and MPOs use 2.5 percent of their planning and research funds for Complete Streets activities that will increase safe and accessible transportation options.
Federal agencies are spending billions of dollars to improve infrastructure as climate change and its effects intensify; this includes fixing pipes, rebuilding drains and expanding stormwater systems . Stormwater runoff is a pressing problem as storms become more intense and rainfall heavier, frequently overwhelming existing systems. These investments can help prevent urban flash flooding, which creates dangerous situations for roadway users. In many cases, the safety benefits can extend year-round as rainwater retention projects can serve as traffic-calming measures.
What if your community is not currently in line for significant upgrades? In this article, we look at smaller projects you can do to make your street greener and tackle stormwater runoff issues.