Complete Streets


A new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation has been announced as of March 2010. Check it out here

Don't like reading so much? Listen to Transportation Secy Ray LaHood speaking at the National Bike Summit

(Keep an eye out for a tall shaved head at about 0:19 of the video. That's JORBA's own Bob Birmingham.)

Explanation of Complete Streets

The streets of our cities and towns are an important part of the livability of our communities. They ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams.

Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.

Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

National Complete Streets Coalition

The mission oc the NCSC is to implement Complete Streets throughout the nation. Their website is location here

NJDOT Policy for Complete Streets in Presentation Form

Please feel free to use these presentations in part or in whole to advance complete streets throughout NJ!

Please follow the links below to download the presentations.

NJDOT Policy Language

New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts signed a "Complete Streets" policy for the state in 2009, which will effectively provide safe access for all users of New Jersey streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, and others whose mobility depends on means other than an automobile.

Below is the New Jersey Complete Streets policy signed by Commissioner Stephen Dilts.


  1. PURPOSE To create and implement a Complete Streets Policy in New Jersey through the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and retrofit transportation facilities within public rights of way that are federally or state funded, including projects processed or administered through the Department’s Capital Program.
  2. DEFINITIONS A Complete Street is defined as means to provide safe access for all users by designing and operating a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options.
  3. BACKGROUND The benefits of Complete Streets are many and varied: • Complete Streets improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility challenged as well as those that cannot afford a car or choose to live car free. • Provide connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreation, retail centers and public facilities. • Promote healthy lifestyles. • Create more livable communities. • Reduce traffic congestion and reliance on carbon fuels thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. • Complete Streets make fiscal sense by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings and transit amenities into the initial design of a project, thus sparing the expense of retrofits later.
  4. POLICY The New Jersey Department of Transportation shall implement a Complete Streets policy though the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and retrofit transportation facilities, enabling safe access and mobility of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users of all ages and abilities. This includes all projects funded through the Department’s Capital Program. The Department strongly encourages the adoption of similar policies by regional and local jurisdictions who apply for funding through Local Aid programs.


    1. Create a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network by providing connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreational and public facilities, as well as retail and transit centers.
    2. Provide safe and accessible accommodations for existing and future pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities.
    3. Establish a checklist of pedestrian, bicycle and transit accommodations such as accessible sidewalks curb ramps, crosswalks, countdown pedestrian signals, signs, median refuges, curb extensions, pedestrian scale lighting, bike lanes, shoulders and bus shelters with the presumption that they shall be included in each project unless supporting documentation against inclusion is provided and found to be justifiable.
    4. Additionally, in rural areas, paved shoulders or a multi-use path shall be included in all new construction and reconstruction projects on roadways used by more than 1,000 vehicles per day. Paved shoulders provide safety and operational advantages for all road users. Shoulder rumble strips are not recommended when used by bicyclists, unless there is a minimum clear path of four feet in which a bicycle may safely operate. If there is evidence of heavy pedestrian usage then sidewalks shall be considered in the project.
    5. Establish a procedure to evaluate resurfacing projects for complete streets inclusion according to length of project, local support, environmental constraints, right-of-way limitations, funding resources and bicycle and/or pedestrian compatibility.
    6. Transportation facilities are long-term investments that shall anticipate likely future demand for bicycling and walking facilities and not preclude the provision of future improvements.
    7. Address the need for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross corridors as well as travel along them. Even where bicyclists and pedestrians may not commonly use a particular travel corridor that is being improved or constructed, they will likely need to be able to cross that corridor safely and conveniently. Therefore, the design of intersections, interchanges and bridges shall accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in a manner that is safe, accessible and convenient.
    8. Design bicycle and pedestrian facilities to the best currently available standards and practices including the New Jersey Roadway Design Manual, the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, AASHTO’s Guide for the Planning, Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and others as related.
    9. Research, develop and support new technologies in improving safety and mobility.
    10. Make provisions for pedestrians and bicyclists when closing roads, bridges or sidewalks for construction projects as outlined in NJDOT Policy #705 – Accommodating Pedestrian and Bicycle Traffic During Construction.
    11. Improvements should also consider connections for Safe Routes to Schools, Safe Routes to Transit, Transit Villages, trail crossings and areas or population groups with limited transportation options.
    12. Establish an incentive within the Local Aid Program for municipalities and counties to develop and implement a Complete Streets policy.
    13. Improvements must comply with Title VI/Environmental Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and should complement the context of the surrounding community.
    14. Implement training for Engineers and Planners on Bicycle/Pedestrian/Transit policies and integration of non-motorized travel options into transportation systems.
    15. Establish Performance Measures to gauge success.
  5. EXEMPTIONS Exemptions to the Complete Streets policy must be presented for final decision to the Capital Program Screening Committee in writing by the appropriate Assistant Commissioner and documented with supporting data that indicates the reason for the decision and are limited to the following:
    1. Non-motorized users are prohibited on the roadway.
    2. Scarcity of population, travel and attractors, both existing and future, indicate an absence of need for such accommodations.
    3. Detrimental environmental or social impacts outweigh the need for these accommodations.
    4. Cost of accommodations is excessively disproportionate to cost of project, more than twenty percent (20%) of total cost.
    5. The safety or timing of a project is compromised by the inclusion of Complete Streets.

    An exemption other than those listed above must be documented with supporting data and must be approved by the Capital Program Committee along with written approval by the Commissioner of Transportation.

  6. AUTHORITY N.J.S.A. Title 27

NJ Bike Coalition

NJ Bicycle Coalition is working to be the Bike-Ped equivalent of JORBA. What this means is that they will run point on the Bike Ped issues that effect all NJ's cyclists, road commuters and walkers, and JORBA will support them in a secondary role. If these issues are important to you, JORBA recommends that you support NJ Bike by joining their group as a member or volunteering today.


Montclair Township set a state milestone, being the first New Jersey municipality to adopt a Complete Streets policy which was unanimously voted in at the October 6, 2009 Township Council meeting (download Complete Streets resolution). The policy, drafted by Township Engineer Kim Craft, ensures that new construction and road renewal accommodate travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, as well as motorized vehicles.

“This was a very important ‘first’ for Montclair and we are extremely pleased to see New Jersey following our lead with the adoption of a state ‘Complete Streets’ policy which will help ensure the safety of all users of New Jersey roads,” said Mayor Jerry Fried.

Although non-vehicular user safety is of prime importance to a Complete Streets policy, it is by far not the only consideration for its adoption.

“We as a society are moving in a new direction for addressing climate change, health issues, and sustainability, so in addition to road safety, the policy promotes healthy lifestyles, and helps reduce traffic congestion and reliance on carbon fuels,” said Mayor Fried. “It also makes fiscal sense – a ‘Complete Streets’ policy incorporates important safety amenities into the initial design of road projects, saving tax payer dollars for expensive retrofitting at a later time.”

Your Town!

Start contacting your mayor and council about bicycle and pedestrian accommodation. Educate yourself on Complete Streets. If you need coaching or guidance, contact us at JORBA or the folks at