What are Complete Streets?
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. Complete Streets are defined as a way to provide safe access for all users by designing and constructing a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options. Complete Streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work or school.
What are the benefits of Complete Streets?
- Improves safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility challenged as well as those that cannot afford a car or those that choose to live car free.
- Provides connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreation, retail centers and public facilities.
- Promotes healthy lifestyles and economic development.
- Creates more livable communities.
- Reduces traffic congestion and reliance on carbon fuels thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Makes fiscal sense by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings and transit amenities into the initial design of a project sparing the expense of later retrofits.
What does a “Complete Street” look like?
There is no singular design prescription for Complete Streets; each one is unique and responds to the specific community needs. A complete street may include: sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts, and more. Images of Main Street’s conceptual “complete streets” designs are posted in the photo gallery of this website.
Where are Complete Streets being built?
Many states and cities have adopted bike plans or pedestrian plans that designate some streets as corridors for improvements for bicycling and walking. More and more, communities are going beyond this to ensure that every street project takes all road users into account. Concord is proud to have adopted a “Complete Streets” policy that serves as guidance to our community building. Complete Streets are being designed and constructed in cities across the U.S.
Complete Streets are desired nationwide. The City of Concord will soon be a location of note with a Complete Streets project fully implemented to meet the needs of all users.
Can Complete Streets improve safety or health?
Yes! Complete Streets policies are meant in part to improve safety, and various studies suggest that complete streets principles have done so. A Federal Highway Administration safety review found that designing a street with pedestrians in mind—sidewalks, medians, turning access controls, better bus stop placement, better lighting, traffic calming measures, and treatments for disabled travelers—all improve pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist safety.
In addition, a variety of reports and organizations have suggested that complete streets policies could improve public health by promoting walking and bicycling. One such report, from the National Conference of State Legislators, found that complete streets policies are the most effective policy for encouraging bicycling and walking.
How did we get to this point?
Following the downtown’s last major improvements in the mid-1980’s, Several studies were completed over the past 15 years that have presented opportunities, planning visions, and design concepts in an effort to improve the downtown area of Concord. These studies include the:
- 2011 Rethinking Main Street
- 2006 Downtown Streetscape Improvement Plan
- 2005 Opportunity Corridor Study
- 2001 Concord 2020 Vision Report
- 1997 Downtown Master Plan
In recent years, interest has been raised by members of the community and the City of Concord to create a “new” Main Street to support mixed-use development, an enhanced sense of place, and an expanded pedestrian environment, while preserving and enhancing the authentic historic character of the downtown.
The public involvement process to understand and achieve this goal has been extensive and has included a diverse representation from members of the community with relevant economic and business experience, residents, members of the City staff, members of City Council, property owners, restaurateurs and merchants as well as many more people with an interest in the future of the downtown. The public involvement process continues today and will continue until the project is complete and fully constructed in 2015.
When will construction start and how long will it take?
Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2013. A break in construction is planned for the winter, but then it will resume in the spring of 2014 and be substantially completed in the fall of 2014. We expect some minor punchlist work in early 2015 towards final completion. A construction activity timeline will be posted on this website later this year so you know what to expect and when.
What are the fundamental goals of the design?
The Complete Streets project proposes to convert the existing 4-lane Concord Main Street to a 2-lane configuration promoting multi-modal use and offering more transportation choices, all while improving livability, safety, and providing a reliable transportation network. Improvements to traffic signals, sidewalks, and accessibility will reduce traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety.
In addition, the project has these specific goals:
- Create a Complete Street
- Enhance the Streetscape
- Improve Access and Mobility
- Provide Gathering Spaces
- Promote Economic Vitality
- Introduce Sustainable Elements
What is the snow melt proposal all about?
A goal of the project is to install a snow melt system to reduce the amount of snow in the downtown. This innovative approach would make downtown a more accessible place to visit in the winter. It also has the benefit of reducing the cost of snow removal for the City of Concord. The system would use waste hot water from a proposed Concord Steam wood fueled power plant to heat the sidewalks and possibly the roadway. Once the system was installed, the cost to operate the system would be minimal. The Project Advisory Committee felt the snow melt system was essential for the project.
Project Cost and Funding
What is the cost of the project?
The estimated project cost is $7,850,000 (including design, permitting, and construction). The project meets the goals of the federal grant program known as TIGER; therefore, $4,710,000 or 60% of the project cost will be funded a grant. The full name of the grant program is Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery and is a supplementary discretionary grant program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact.
The remaining 40% will be paid for by both the City of Concord and the Downtown community (20% each).
How to Become Involved or Receive More Information
Where can I submit my photos?
If you would like to submit your photos of Main Street, please do. Just use the contact page on this website. If your submission meet our needs we will use them in our newsletters, website, Facebook and similar. In return, you will be given credit for your work. We’re excited about having the public involved.
How can I get more information about the project?
Please sign up to receive information through the website by joining our Facebook page and e-newsletter (located in the upper right corner of this website). Also, please go to the contact tab, fill out the form and click submit. This form goes directly to the project’s Public Outreach Coordinator. Your inquiry will be replied to as soon as possible.