Members of the community expressed a desire, as part of creating Keene’s walkable community, to strive for “complete streets.” Complete Streets is a national program that encourages local municipalities across the country to build road networks that are safer, more livable and welcoming to everyone. Keene should make it a consistent policy to design streets with all users in mind, including drivers, public transport riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists as well as older people, children, and those with disabilities. Bicycle lanes in particular have been a topic of recent discussion for both the Court Street and Washington Street reconstruction projects.
There is no single design prescription for “complete streets.” Ingredients may include sidewalks, bike lanes or wide paved shoulders, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public-transportation stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, and more. A complete street in a rural area will look quite different from one in an urban area. However, both are designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road. As Keene’s existing roads are repaired or reconstructed, it should be a policy of the city to incorporate these ingredients to the scale and degree appropriate for the location and type of roadway (e.g., urban streets vs. rural highways).