Complete Streets Policies
Complete Streets is a policy and procedural approach to roadway design focused on the needs of all transportation users, regardless of their age, ability, or mode of travel. It provides a framework for planners, engineers, and elected officials to incorporate active forms of transportation into roadway design projects wherever feasible. As of August 2017, we are aware of 50 municipalities or other entities that have adopted Complete Streets policies in Illinois. Many of these policies were developed with the assistance of the Active Transportation Alliance.
Here are the Complete Streets policies that have passed in Illinois:
Algonquin’s Complete Streets policy was passed as a resolution. The Village added Complete Streets to its goals of providing independent living, reducing environmental impacts, and greater social interaction amongst its residents.
A Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission in Arlington Heights helped develop this suburban community’s Complete Streets policy. The Village’s next steps include a Comprehensive Plan for bicycle and pedestrian travel.
Berwyn’s vision statement connects Complete Streets to larger community goals such as livability standards and environmental stewardship. Berwyn installed new curb ramps and bicycle parking as a result of its policy.
Blue Island’s ordinance is used as a model for other municipalities. Blue Island’s vision statement, as well as its language on community context and transparent and equitable decision-making, may be especially useful.
Calumet Park’s ordinance was developed as part of the Healthy HotSpot initiative. Calumet Park’s policy includes a full suite of economic measures in its list of performance metrics.
Canton’s Complete Streets policy is a formal proclamation. It was developed as part of the “We Choose Health” Initiative through the Illinois Department of Public Health. It may also be the snazziest looking policy in the country!
Carbondale passed its policy in the form of a resolution, which says that “Carbondale, Illinois views all transportation improvements as opportunities to connect neighborhoods, calm traffic and improve safety…”
Adopted by the Champaign-Urbana area’s MPO, this policy applies to projects using federal transportation funds within the region’s boundaries, and closely connects to their long-range transportation plan, Choices 2035.
City staff say that Champaign’s policy “does not contain specific prescriptions, but rather ensures that [planning and public works] keep non-automobile users in mind throughout the entire design process.”
Resolution 2013-43, Chicago Heights’ Complete Streets policy, was adopted in a unanimous vote by the Village’s board. Chicago Heights’ language on all users may be useful to municipalities developing a Complete Streets policy.
Chicago’s policy is codified through its 2013 design guidelines. The Windy City’s guidelines set a rare, pedestrian-first modal hierarchy: “all projects and programs, from scoping to maintenance, will favor pedestrians first”.
Cook County’s policy was written as part of the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant program from the Cook County Department of Public Health. The policy is implemented via their design guide.
Des Plaines’ policy is used as a model. The City’s policy says that “the social and economic value of [a] safer and more convenient transportation system” must be given “due consideration” when weighing costs.
Combining Complete Streets and Green Streets concepts, Evanston’s policy emphasizes how the street network can contribute to environmental goals. Citizen appointees on the City’s Environment Board developed the policy, and the policy was updated in 2017.
Forest Park’s policy includes language on performance measures that may be helpful for other jurisdictions. The policy does not mention who is responsible for collecting data or how that data will be communicated.
Franklin Park’s Complete Streets ordinance reflects the Village’s unique transportation assets. The policy was written by a steering committee that includes representatives from the Village’s Plan Commission, park districts, school districts, and the Village’s planning and engineering departments.
Highland Park’s Complete Streets policy was adopted in conjunction with its non-motorized transportation plan. The policy explicitly supports projects that enhance public transportation services like Metra and PACE.
Hoffman Estates’ Complete Streets policy was developed as one of several policy and environmental changes under the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant from the Cook County Department of Public Health.
Lake County’s Complete Streets policy is part of its “Policy on Infrastructure Guidelines for Non-Motorized Travel Investments” and includes rural contexts. Unlike many policies, repaving projects are an exception.
Lakemoor’s policy ranked as a 3rd best new Complete Streets policies of 2014. (They tied with Austin, TX and Dawson County, MN). Lakemoor’s language on exceptions and development review may be useful for others.
Lemont’s policy led to the development of an Active Transportation Plan in the following year. Lemont’s policy includes specific language on how progress towards their Complete Streets will be reported to the community.
Many initiatives in Midlothian are driven by a local group of passionate volunteers. Their Complete Streets policy is no different. Midlothian’s policy also stands apart for its integration of stormwater management practices.
Normal’s policy states that, “Complete Streets is not additional work for planners, architects and engineers; it is different work” that “simply redefines the problem.” Normal’s policy passed with a unanimous vote.
North Chicago’s Complete Streets policy and guide is called “Access Unlimited” to emphasize its goal of meeting the needs of all users. The guide also sets the stage for changes to the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
Oak Lawn’s policy contains strong language describing all the users of the roadway and a full list of jurisdictional partners. The policy connects Complete Streets to improving access to services and businesses.
Oak Park’s policy was recognized by the National Complete Streets Coalition as one of the best new Complete Streets policies of 2012. The Village’s “Exemptions” section is used as a model for other municipalities.
Park Forest’s sections on performance measures and implementation are specific without being too prescriptive. Their resolution includes definitions of terms such as “Complete Streets infrastructure”.
The adoption of a Complete Streets policy was identified as a next step in Plainfield’s 2013 Transportation Plan. The policy development process was informed by research by Village staff and community involvement.
Richton Park’s policy reflects the village’s long-term vision for a vibrant, active community. The village identified the development of an Active Transportation Plan as one of the its key implementation steps.
Riverdale’s Complete Streets policy was developed as one of several policy and environmental system changes under Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant from the Cook County Department of Public Health.
Skokie’s Complete Streets committee was truly multi-sectoral, with representatives from the Village’s planning, engineering, public safety, fire, and health departments, as well as school district and community members.
South Chicago Heights and Steger have a tradition of working together. The villages held joint committee meetings to develop their Complete Streets policy, but then added their own flourish to make their policy their own.
Illinois passed the state’s Complete Streets policy in 2007. The policy is codified in a 2010 revision of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Design and Environment Manual, a.k.a., the BDE.
Steger and South Chicago Heights have a tradition of working together. The villages held joint committee meetings to develop their Complete Streets policy, but then added their own flourish to make their policy their own.
Summit’s Complete Streets policy complements other recent transportation initiatives – as a home-rule municipality, the Village recently instated a gas-tax for capital improvements and developed an Active Transportation Plan.
Tinley Park’s policy considers walking and bicycling as equal transportation modes to automobile travel. The Village has an extensive section on connectivity and context-sensitive design solutions.
Urbana’s policy amends its 2005 Comprehensive Plan and identifies the amendment of Subdivision and Development Codes as an action step. The policy passed with full support of the Urban Plan Commission.
The Village of Willow Springs’ Complete Streets Steering Committee developed its Complete Streets policy to reflect the community’s proximity to the Cook County Forest Preserves and a growing number of trails.
Woodstock’s Complete Streets ordinance was developed as one of several policy and environmental changes under Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant from the Cook County Department of Public Health.