The West Piedmont Planning District Commission is playing a key role in a regional Complete Streets Coalition, launched in 2015, and intended to promote healthy, active lifestyles in the region while providing residents with alternative modes of transportation. The premise of Complete Streets is a transportation system designed to accommodate multiple users including vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, and transit.
Complete Streets benefit communities in a variety of ways. Integration of bicycle and pedestrian mobility into the transportation system facilitates mobility options beyond driving. This offers the cumulative benefits of, first, providing travel choices to individuals, particularly those of low or moderate income for whom transportation consumes a disproportionate amount of income; and, second, promotes physical activity, thereby resulting in fewer occurrences of chronic health conditions.
Complete Streets can also promote economic development and community vitality. The millennial generation—those born between about 1982 and 2000—prefer to live in communities that possess multi-modal transportation systems, as this generation is more environmentally- and health-conscious than prior generations. Additionally, the baby boomer generation, now largely transitioning into retirement, has embraced active lifestyles and shown a preference to live in walkable communities. Towns and cities that adopt multi-modal transportation systems are more likely to attract young workers and retirees and if designed well, can contribute to a sense of place where people choose to gather, thereby attracting additional business and residential investment. The National Complete Streets Coalition, part of Smart Growth America, provides a wealth of additional information and resources on Complete Streets at http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets.