Ah good ol’ Churchill Avenue. For years its sidewalks quietly crumbled and listed; the north winds would scatter litter along it, imprisoning it in its cracks and crevices. Its many stately homes attested to grander times but with each passing day Churchill was getting a little older, a little crummier.
But then it got a makeover! Its sidewalks are now things of beauty and there are several other nifty bits that add to its charm: raised bike lanes called cycle tracks, separate pedestrian, bike and vehicle traffic signals, and lots of easy to spot signage.
The facelift is what they call a complete street in transportation circles. Complete streets look different depending on what city you’re in, even what neighbourhood, but in general they include something for everybody regardless of ability or age.
Rebecca O’Brien is a program coordinator with the Sustainable Alberta Association (SAA), which works on transportation initiatives including the annual Commuter Challenge. She says the philosophy behind complete streets is to design for the most vulnerable.
“If you design a street for a 10-year old, a person in a wheelchair or a senior with a walker,” she says, “you will create streets that work for everyone.”
Complete Streets: Making Canada’s roads safer for all. Case study written by Sharon Boddy and Jay Kassirer for Transport Canada.