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Complete Streets – A Guide for Vermont Communities


In 2011 a Complete Streets initiative was implemented within guidelines specified by Act 34 in Vermont. The Complete Streets initiative is a comprehensive planning, design and implementation system under the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) that broadens transportation possibilities beyond motor vehicles.  This guide was developed by the Vermont Department of Health in cooperation with a variety of transportation, health and aging organizations in order to demonstrate and provide examples of Complete Streets projects already in place, as well as overarching planning guidelines for future initiatives.

Key Points

The guide is hugely practical for city planners. Not only does the guide cite examples within the state of Vermont, but it also functions as a “how-to” document with illustrations and examples of issues related to bicycle lanes, walkability, coding, zoning, and many other sub-categories. The structure of the guide is as follows:

  1. Determine the Land Use and Transportation Context (page 9): This section outlines context zones. Particularly, their designations and meanings.
  2. Determine Potential Users (page 13): Taking the designations in Section 1, the planning guide provides a chart wherein the planner can designate which user benefits from specific types of contexts. City planners nationally can use this as a template for determining which zones and projects best match within their own localities.
  3. Assess the Transportation Facilities (page 13): These include functional classification, roadway surfaces (as it pertains to Act 34), cross sections, right-of-way widths, traffic speeds, traffic volumes, crash history, and potential bicycle or pedestrian hazards that help the planner determine what should be evaluated for potential new projects.
  4. Issues Beyond the Roadway (page 16) include environment, placemaking, economic development, aesthetics and historic sources.
  5. Select Complete Streets Tools (page 17) and the Design Complete Streets for All Users (page 26)  sections make up the bulk of the report and are chalked with subsections on everything from intersection planning to lighting. These are filled with examples and illustrations.
  6. Costs and Funding (page 35) is the final section which examines the types of cost consideration and funding sources for various complete streets planning projects.

How to Use

Though the report is in compliance with Vermont’s Act 34, planners nationally will find the guide practical and helpful for their own planning purposes. There are checklists and guides within the report, as well as reporting forms (see the Appendix) that planners can adapt and utilize for planning and implementing local Complete Streets initiatives.

View full report: Complete Streets – A Guide for Vermont Communities (PDF – 15.3 MB)

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