Announcing the best Complete Streets policies of 2012

Communities across the country are making roads safer and more accessible for everyone who uses them, and more communities are using these strategies now than ever before.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012, released today, examines all the Complete Streets policies passed in the last year and highlights some of the best. The analysis also revealed that the Complete Streets movement grew in 2012, continuing a national trend since 2005.

In 2012, 125 communities adopted Complete Streets policies. These laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies and planning and design documents encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity or how they travel.

In total, 488 Complete Streets policies are now in place nationwide, at all levels of government. Statewide policies are in place in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Forty-two regional planning organizations, 38 counties and 379 municipalities in 48 states also have policies that allow everyone to safely use America’s roads. The policies passed in 2012 comprise more than one quarter of all policies in place today.

Ten cities have led the way in crafting comprehensive policy language. Our ranking of top Complete Streets policies is intended to celebrate the communities that have done exceptional work in the past year. They are:

1 Indianapolis, IN 6 Portland, ME
2 Hermosa Beach, CA 7 Oak Park, IL
2 Huntington Park, CA 8 Trenton, NJ
4 Ocean Shores, WA 9 Clayton, MO
5 Northfield, MN 10 Rancho Cucamonga, CA

“The policies passed in 2012 are some of the strongest we’ve seen,” said Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “The communities included in this year’s analysis have done a stellar job drafting strong, comprehensive policies to create streets that work for everyone.”

Today’s report highlights exemplary policy language, and provides leaders at all levels of government with ideas for how to create strong Complete Streets policies. Information about additional resources for local leaders is also included.

Download the report

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012
Download the full report, including the list of top 10 Complete Streets policies from 2012 as well as a full explanation of our policy evaluation.

Click here to download the full report (PDF)

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012: Executive Summary
Download the list of top 10 Complete Streets policies from 2012 as well as an an overview of our policy evaluation.

Click here to download the Executive Summary (PDF)


The National Complete Streets Coalition supports communities as they develop, adopt and implement Complete Streets policies, and we are proud to have worked with and supported many of the communities discussed in this analysis. By highlighting the top Complete Streets policies of the past year we aim to celebrate exemplary policy work and to give other communities an example to follow in writing their own Complete Streets policies.

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    18 Responses to Announcing the best Complete Streets policies of 2012

    1. frank camarda says:

      My main interest for growth is public transportation

      • Lance Lamberton says:


        • Indy says:

          My main interest is the abolition of all taxpayer subsidies for roads. And also of people typing in all caps…

        • Kevin Dumler says:

          Thats fine. As long as you agree to stop subsidizing the automobile. Then nearly everyone would use transit.

        • Michael M. says:

          Are you also interested in abolishing the huge taxpayer subsidies for automobile travel? If not, what is your justification for abolishing those for public transit and not other forms of travel?

        • John Orleans says:

          Maybe we should start with eliminating subsidies for fossil fuel at $10 billion. Or ending the $1 leases of our public lands to oil and gas drillers (with no per barrel fees, either)? Or just the tax breaks to the big 5 oil companies at $2.4 billion?

          Public transit is a public benefit. It takes people off the roads, increases available parking, puts less wear-and-tear on our roadways, reduces pollution, and causes less accidents. I say we promote public transportation and make it so easy and reliable that everyone uses it to some degree.

          Can you explain how my thinking is faulty in this?

      • frank camarda says:

        I dont understand this kind of response Is there any one interested monitoring these messages or is this all a senselous venture???? frank camarda

    2. Dee says:

      sounds like a bunch of Agenda 21 pushers to get us to get rid of our cars and use public transportation…..whether we like it or not….ICLEI in full force.

    3. Judy Telge says:

      People with disabilities of all ages are more able to be integrated into communities when smart growth/complete streets/walkability principles lead design and build throughout communities. If fully implemented, accessibility is not just being compliant with codes and laws, but meets the mobility needs of all citizens and visitors in a sustainable way. I look for accessibility.

    4. Roger Henderson says:

      An excellent report – kudos to the staff at the National Complete Streets Coalition

    5. Erika says:

      That’s interesting, considering people fly down Hermosa Ave at speeds of 40+ miles per hour even when people are crossing the street from their parked cars in the center. Great policies? How about good enforcement?

    6. Melissa says:

      People who can’t afford cars, but have transit, can get to jobs and become taxpayers.

    7. Wanderer says:

      How many of these top Complete Streets policies make genuine provision for transit, beyond just listing it in a laundry list of modes? Time after time I’ve seen transit ignored or minimized in complete streets policies and proposals. I’ve seen regional agency “complete street” checklists with no mention of transit. If it’s a main street and it doesn’t accommodate transit well, it’s not complete.

    8. Stop Agenda 21 says:

      Smart growth, sustainable development,walkable cities,etc…ALL Agenda 21 programs designed to remove people from automobiles,single family homes and rural living and force them into high rise cities where the only transportation is walking,bikes and public mass transit. The ICLEI, the Sierra Club and many other NGOs are all behind this and they’re burying the AG-21 roots deep within America.
      Before everyone jumps on board this green bandwagon, I ask that you thoroughly do some research on Agenda 21 and what it fully IS underneath that feel good green surface. Your rights, liberties and freedoms are being taken away from you gradually by this program.

      • filthy assistant says:

        With all due respect, my rights, liberties, and freedoms are being eroded with every tax dollar spent for automobile- centric infrastructure (used by some) and not pedestrian- or bicycle- centric infrastructure (used by almost all — we all walk somewhere). Where’s MY “level of service”? Mind, I don’t object to cars, per se (I have a soft spot for the vintage/ classic beauties), but they are simply one option being overwhelmingly favored (to the benefit of Certain Industries) at the expense of other, less- expensive, and often healthier options; this bias is what burns my toast on both sides.

    9. Matt says:

      I think some of the nay-sayers are missing the point here. Yes, it is easy to point fingers at the Agenda-21 enthusiasts and say they are trying to manipulate our lives and take away our freedom, but I think we have more control over our lifestyle choices than is admitted to here. And that is one of the purposes of the sustainable movement, which is to provide MORE choices. If anything, there should be more discussion about the conspiracy of those agendas that force us to drive everywhere we go and the unlimited reaches of urban sprawl dominating the growth of our cities. Having more mobility and accessibility is not only helpful environmentally by using less energy and polluting less, it increases our social interactions and improves our health with more exercise. Senior citizens are able to be more independent and care for themselves more since they aren’t tethered to the automobile (which we all know shouldn’t be used by anyone over a certain age…)! These are just a few logical reasons to downplay the “Agenda-21”-using-haters of sustainable and smart growth. Don’t get it confused, cars are good – for some trips of course – but they aren’t the most efficient mode of travel for ALL trips.
      And to address the concerns for more “complete streets” – I agree with you Wanderer, there are times certain elements of the streets are omitted, mostly due to “insufficient budgets”, political pressures, or sadly oversight and incompetance, but I think the trend is changing. Yes, it is easier to look around and see what is wrong with our built environment than to see the extraordinary improvements that have occured over the past years, but I think there is a wave of young planners and engineers with new, innovative ideas that will shape a better world not only for us, but for our kids and all those baby-boomers (who will need these ideas implemented soon!!) Stay positive, don’t be afraid (for all those nay-sayers), and let’s make this the city is what born to be!

      “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence”
      -David Burnham

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