Kitsap Complete Streets

In June 2011, the City of Bainbridge Island staff participated in an event titled “Kitsap Complete Streets” sponsored by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC), along with other local jurisdictions.

What They Are
Complete Streets are part of a transportation system that considers all users, modes, and abilities in a network that allows citizens to safely connect between the places they need to travel.

They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders to safely move along and across a Complete Street. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from transit hubs.

What They Look Like
There is no single design plan for Complete Streets; each one is unique and responds to its community context. A Complete Street may include: sidewalks, bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders), special bus lanes, accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, and roundabouts.

Rural Areas
A Complete Street in a rural area will look quite different from a Complete Street in a highly urban area, but both are designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road.

Why We Need Complete Streets Policies

Incomplete streets, those designed with only cars in mind, limit transportation choices by making walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation inconvenient, unattractive, and possibly unsafe. Changing policy so that our transportation system routinely includes the needs of people on foot, public transportation, and bicycles means that walking, riding bikes, and riding public transit will be safer and easier.

More Options
People of all ages and abilities will have more options when traveling to work, school, and the grocery store, visiting friends and family, and running errands. Making these travel choices more convenient, attractive, and safe will allow citizens to not rely solely on automobiles. Citizens will have options for active transportation, such as walking, and cycling.

Gaining Opportunities
Getting more productivity out of the existing road and public transportation systems is vital to reducing congestion. Expanding opportunities for active transportation is a key community health strategy. By adopting a Complete Streets Policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely consider safe access for all users in the design and operation of all roads.

This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists, making the community a better place to live.

Research shows that the presence of more pedestrians and cyclists on the street has an inverse association with risk of motor vehicle collision and the frequency of active-mode injuries per capita. This suggests that motorists become increasingly aware and drive more cautiously when there are higher levels of pedestrian and bicycle activity, a phenomenon referred to as "safety in numbers."

Future Plans
A proposed countywide transportation plan will be developed and coordinated with the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC) to identify countywide transportation facility and service needs. A technical committee, including transit, local, regional, and state transportation providers, will provide coordinated input.

Helpful Resources

For more information about City of Bainbridge Island Projects with Complete Streets elements, see the city map of completed road projects.