Complete Streets: Getting to Yes the Memphis Example

If a prescription slip from the doctor were a cure I would just need to get that slip of paper or the electronic script to the Pharmacist and I would be well. But, we all know that is not how it works.

The prescription is  only the very first step in curing the illness and putting life back in order.  And, the same sort of process is at work if your goal is to Complete Your Streets. That bit of paper or electronic script that is your Complete Streets Policy is only the beginning.

Once you have a Complete Streets Policy you can’t just “put the bottle in the medicine cabinet.” Your prescription will do you no more good on the self than your Complete Streets Policy will if it is left on a shelf at city hall or down at Public Works.  You have to take your medicine and the community needs to follow its plan to change the way it does business out in its streets.

To carry the analogy one step further, you have to be sure that you follow the doctor’s recommendations: no overdosing or skipping doses . Out in the street that means that you don’t need one great street or two, you need a network of streets that serve everyone in the community. And, since you are connecting origins and destinations, streets that do not connect for all users just are not complete-no matter how nice the cover of the plan or policy looks on your shelf

Take a look at this video from Memphis to see how local leaders in that City and County worked to bring Complete Streets to their community. This is coalition building that will give your efforts the shot you need you need for success.

It is worth noting that Barbara McCann is now the Director, Office of Safety, Energy & Environment at USDOT, while Toks Omishakin, Assistant Commissioner/Chief of Environment & Planning TNDOT is a planner and the former Bike-Ped Coordinator at the City of Nashville, TN.