The Best New Complete Streets Policies, Ranked

After a pandemic hiatus, Smart Growth America has resumed creating an annual list of cities that are making the strongest commitments to improving street safety and making roads accessible and comfortable for everyone.

1 minute read

May 25, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

After a four-year hiatus, Smart Growth America has released a list of the best Complete Streets policies in the country, highlighting the places that have made the most progress in improving street safety and access for all road users. 

Jared Brey describes the rankings in Governing, explaining that Smart Growth America defines ‘complete streets’ as “an approach to planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining streets that enables safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.”

The community at the top, rating a perfect 100 points, is Howard County, Maryland, whose Complete Streets policy emphasizes equity and “is focused on creating a network of roads and paths that accommodate likely trips throughout the county by car, bike, foot and transit, while acknowledging that ‘every street does not necessarily need to provide separate accommodations for every mode.’”

Brey adds that “Cities with high-ranking complete streets policies adopted in the last few years include El Paso, Tucson and Joplin, Mo.” See the source article for a link to the full rankings and an explanation of the method for selecting top policies.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 in Governing

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

New York MTA subway station

Off-Peak is the New On-Peak

Public transit systems in major U.S. cities are starting to focus on non-rush hour travelers as pre-pandemic commuting patterns shift and transportation needs change.

May 19, 2023 - Curbed

Nighttime view of Tacoma, Washington skyline

Tacoma Coalition Calls for ‘Tenants’ Bill of Rights’

The group wants to put more power in the hands of tenants, but the city has its own, competing proposal for addressing the housing crisis.

May 26 - The Urbanist

Wind turbines sillhouetted against a sunset sky along roadway in New Mexico

New Power Transmission Line Approved in the Southwest

The proposed transmission line will transfer wind-produced power from New Mexico to cities in Arizona and California.

May 26 - U.S. News And World Report

Aerial view of 238 freeway in Oakland, California cutting through neighborhood with small houses

The Limitations of ‘Reconnecting Communities’

The Biden administration has pledged to correct the damage imposed on communities by highways and infrastructure, but many projects are only committing to minor improvements, not transformative changes.

May 26 - The New York Times

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.