What is Complete Streets?
“Complete Streets” is the concept that streets should be planned, designed, operated and maintained to support safe travel by all types of users: people walking, bicycling, taking transit, and driving, as well as by people of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets may include sidewalks, crosswalks, paved shoulders, bicycle lanes, bus pull-outs, traffic calming measures, or other features depending on the street’s characteristics and land use context. Complete Streets support local businesses, promote economic development, improve health and safety, and make our communities more inviting.
In October 2016, the Dutchess County Legislature adopted a Complete Streets Policy. The policy applies to transportation-related elements of projects involving County property (including roads, parks, and buildings), as well as public and private projects over which the County Department of Public Works has permitting authority. The policy was developed by the Complete Streets Committee based on national best practices.
Complete Streets policies have been adopted by more than 950 municipalities, counties, and states across the country. In New York, other counties with Complete Streets policies include Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Essex, Nassau, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester (as of 2016). In Dutchess County, the Town of Fishkill adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2013 (see the NYSDOT Complete Streets website for more information). New York State passed a Complete Streets Act in 2011, which requires that safe travel by all users of all ages be considered in the planning, design, construction, reconstruction, restriping and rehabilitation of all transportation facilities that receive federal and state funding.
Why a Complete Streets Committee?
Walk Bike Dutchess, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Plan for Dutchess County, recommended the creation of an inter-departmental Complete Streets Committee to develop a Complete Streets policy for Dutchess County and promote walking and bicycling more broadly. The Committee includes staff from Planning & Development, Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council, Public Works, Behavioral and Community Health, Office for the Aging, Divison of Public Transit, Traffic Safety Board, and Sheriff's Office. Transportation Council staff coordinate the committee and serve as a liaison between County departments, as well as with local municipalities, NYSDOT, and others. The committee meets every 2-3 months.
The Complete Streets committee shares resources and ideas to promote walking and bicycling in the county and builds on efforts including the Department of Health’s Declaration of Wellness, the Healthy Communities Trail Map Series, and the Planning Department’s ongoing work to implement Greenway Connections and promote Centers and Greenspaces.
Dutchess County Complete Streets Policy (and County Legislature Resolution)
Complete Streets Vision Statement
The Committee developed the following Vision for Complete Streets in Dutchess County:
Dutchess County shall strive to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain its streets, bridges, bus system (buses, stops, shelters, etc.), parks, trails, and buildings to promote safe, comfortable, efficient, and convenient travel for people of all ages and abilities, and for all types of transportation, including walking, bicycling, riding the bus, and driving, to the greatest extent possible. Over time, these facilities will be integrated into a countywide network that promotes the health, safety, environment, and economic vitality of Dutchess County and makes it a more desirable place to live, work and visit.
Complete Streets Checklist
The Committee developed a Complete Streets Checklist to assist the County in achieving its vision for complete streets. It is intended to be completed for all projects affecting County roads, either by the County’s project manager or the project applicant.