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Complete Streets Philly Handbook is Here – How did Sustainability Factor?
Philly

Complete Streets Philly Handbook is Here – How did Sustainability Factor?

Complete Streets HandbookMayor Michael Nutter has done a lot of cool stuff for Philly’s sustainability scene.

In 2009, he realized that the city needed to treat every street as a “Complete Street” to accommodate the different ways Philadelphians choose to travel – whether by bike, bus, car, train or strolling. Thus, the Complete Streets Policy was required to accommodation safety and convenience for all users and balance the needs of ALL users. (This is why the recent Bill 120532, which increases fines for improper parking AND bicycling behavior emphasized importance on multiple transit types.) The result? Check out the Complete Streets Handbook 2013 final version, which has been released for your eyes here.

We reviewed the 163 page handbook for you. To save you time, here are some sustainable observations:

  • Bike parking and street trees are high priorities (ensuring the greenness on the curb). (Pages 16-17)
  • Bike lanes and transit stops are also high priorities (which encourage people to get around more sustainably. We need to make sure those SEPTA passengers are safe and have a place to wait for their modes of transportation). (Page 18)
  • Existing green initiatives paved the way for many of the guidelines. Stormwater management is a high priority, due to the Green Cities Clean Waters initiative. Other plans like Philadelphia 2035 and Greenworks Philadelphia were emphasized. (Page 21)
  • One of the main principles of the handbook (besides safety, public consideration, pedestrian movement) is to incorporate green design. When we’re creating/refurbishing the areas, we can improve stormwater runoff, improve pedestrian environment and encourage those walkers. Public spaces are also a major priority for social and economic activities. (WOOT. More concerts/wine in the park?!) (Pages 23-24)
  • Planted areas & stormwater management features are encouraged in sidewalks. (More greenery!) (Page 73)
  • Permeable pavements are also encouraged for an added green bonus. (Pages 117 – 130)

Complete Streets Handbook city agencies

The Complete Streets Handbook may seem like it can get monotonous at first for us general citizens, but it’s an easy-to-understand guide for a complex topic (i.e., what types of streets are, sizes required of sidewalks/etc., who’s involved with different areas of the streets (Planning commission, Zoning Board, etc) and what’s readily approved and not). Business owners, city planners and citizens can fast forward to the end of the document has a project review checklist, easy to read for proposed designs. 

Overall, it is very cool to see that each ‘area’ of the street planning (medians, speed reducers, lane width, etc) all have “green street opportunities” suggestions and ways to incorporate green infrastructure opportunities.

For more information, check out the Philadelphia Streets Department website.  

Readers, anything you really like (or hate) about the Complete Streets Handbook?

 

Photos: Complete Streets Handbook

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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