Complete Streets Overview
Philadelphia has approximately 2,575 miles of streets, and Philadelphians use them every day to walk, bike, ride transit, and drive. Some streets were first built in the 1600’s and others laid down in the 1950’s. Our streets come in a diversity of widths and serve a variety of different purposes, users, and neighborhoods.
Public streets are one of the most valuable assets a city has. The competition for the use of the public right of way is constant and varied. From serving emergency vehicles to automobiles, from accommodating pedestrians to delivery trucks, from bicyclists to buses, the management of these vital and constantly changing spaces is crucial and needs to be balanced in order to minimize congestion and maximize safety.
In 2009, Mayor Nutter issued an executive order ensuring that the City’s streets would accommodate all users of the transportation system, be they pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, or automobile drivers. In doing so, he made a promise that all of the City’s streets would be designed, built, and maintained as “Complete Streets”. (See the Executive Order here)
In order to facilitate a “Complete Streets” process and ensure fulfillment of the 2009 executive order, the City adopted a Complete Streets Design Handbook and instituted a Complete Streets Review process, performed by the Streets Department and the City Planning Commission.