Complete Streets

The Town of Sterling, in conjunction with the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), is working with Mass DOT on a “Complete Streets” program.

A Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, biking, transit, and motorized vehicles – for people of all ages and abilities. Designing streets with these principles contributes toward the safety, health, economic viability and quality of life in a community by improving the pedestrian and vehicular environments and providing safer, more accessible and comfortable means of travel between home, school, work, recreation and retail destinations. More broadly, embedding Complete Streets principles in policy and practice help promote more livable communities.

In addition, the creation of Complete Streets encourages an active transportation lifestyle as a way to decrease obesity and reduce risk for chronic diseases (heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, etc.). Also inherent in the development of a Complete Street is meeting the most current accessibility guidelines outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (AAB), which are upheld by Code of Massachusetts Regulations 521 (521 CMR).

Complete Streets improvements may be large scale, such as corridor-wide improvements that include a separated bicycle lane, new crosswalks and new bus stops; or a small-scale improvement, such as a new bus shelter to encourage transit use. Other Complete Street project examples include improved street lighting, minor changes to traffic signal timings, new bicycle or pedestrian facilities, a median refuge island, or improved connection to transit. The design of a Complete Street should be context sensitive and incorporate improvements or treatments that fit with the need and within the character of a community.