Regional Complete Streets Policy in Greater Washington, DC

Christine GreenComplete Streets are now officially supported by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Greater Washington, DC area. At their meeting this week, the TBP adopted a policy in support of Complete Streets that also encourages local member jurisdictions to adopt their own Complete Streets policy. The Greater Washington, DC area regional network has participated in the policy development by attending the policy workshop and offering comments on the policy. We congratulate the TPB on taking this step forward.

By taking this step, the TBP elevates the importance of walking and bicycling in the Greater Washington, DC area. The policy provides a template for local jurisdictions to follow when writing their own Complete Streets policy. The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) submission form will soon ask if the local jurisdiction has a policy and how the specific TIP project is complying.  

While local jurisdictions cannot be required to adopt their own policy, it is important to have this policy at the regional level. It sets the expectation that transportation planning and projects will include persons of all ages and abilities. It means that more people, including children, will be able to walk or bicycle to destinations. Transit riders will be safer on the way to their stops or stations. Complete Streets policies usher in a new way of doing business that is inclusive of all users of the road.

The next step is for Greater Washington, DC jurisdictions to adopt or strengthen their own Complete Streets policies. Currently, Alexandria, VA, Rockville, MD and Washington, DC have stand-alone Complete Streets policies. Five counties have the policy within transportation master plans. The MPO policy includes a provision to tracking the status of all Complete Streets policies within 120 days and then two years thereafter. Implementation of this policy will be critical! To assist communities, the TBP will be hosting a training on Complete Streets best practices.   

The Greater Washington, DC area regional network, funded by Kaiser Permanente, also stands ready to assist communities in this process as we make walking and bicycling the mode of choice!