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The Handbook

National Perspective

Cities, Counties and States across the United States are all recognizing that streets must accommodate all users, whether they are parking a truck or a bike. By adopting what are called Complete Streets Policies, these governments recognize that the planning, design and operations of the public right of way needs serve citizens regardless of their mode of choice. In 2012, 130 communities adopted Complete Streets Policies, bringing the total close to 500 communities dedicated towards protecting pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists across 48 states.

How It Applies To Philadelphia

Philadelphia's streets amount to over 13% of the City's land. It is important that all Philadelphians have access to their city, no matter how they choose to travel. More Philadelphians bike to work than any other big city in the United States. In 2015, over 13.5% of all Philadelphians were over 65 years old, which means that the number of vulnerable pedestrians is growing every year. In neighborhoods from Logan to University City, communities are turning parking spaces into parks. Philadelphia is changing and the City needs to make sure its policies can accommodate the growing and changing demands on its streets. In 2009, former mayor Michael A. Nutter issued an Executive Order stating that, henceforth, City agencies:

  • Give full consideration to accommodation of the safety and convenience of all users
  • Balance the needs of all users in planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation; and
  • Prioritize the safety of children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

In 2012, City Council adopted legislation that made this policy the law of the land. The policy provides design guidance to developers, planners and community groups and ensures mobility for all Philadelphians no matter how they choose to travel.

Today, communities, developers, city planners, and agency officials can consult the Complete Streets Handbook to learn about the City's policies for street design, management and project development. Readers of the Complete Streets Handbook can learn about the transportation priorities for a given street and the policies and procedures that govern the management of the right of way in Philadelphia.

Developer / Community / Gallery Modules

Developers, community groups, residents and planners can all use the Complete Streets Handbook in different ways. Developers need to know if their projects will trigger a Complete Streets Review, while community groups may be interested in learning about the City's policies regarding decorative street lighting.