Americans support Complete Streets: Fully 83% of Americans support increased funding for biking and walking

The work to pass a Complete Streets policy in St. Louis County is still moving forward.  

A recent Post-Dispatch article outlined the issues and some of the issues raised by supporters and opponents. The County Council is planning to consider the measure again at tonight's Council meeting. Trailnet, the local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization in the St. Louis area, has worked extensively with County Council members, County departments, and groups in the area with an interest in the issue, helping to build consensus and find agreement among the various parties involved.

The County's work on Complete Streets has received extensive media coverage over the past couple of months--with controversies and disagreements over the issue highlighted in nearly every article.  

That makes it a good time to consider:  What is Complete Streets? Does it really have strong public support?

What is Complete Streets?

Complete Streets--the idea that we build our roads, streets, and transportation system to accommodate all users, including those who walk, bike, use transit and drive, and users of all ages and abilities--has been a primary focus of the vision and mission of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation and our allies across the state for many years. 

83% of Americans want to maintain or increase the small percentage of funding th
83% of Americans want to maintain or increase the small percentage of funding that helps build sidewalks and bikeways

We have seen a flourishing of Complete Streets policies across Missouri: In the year 2001, we had no Complete Streets policies in Missouri--and now we have 22 policies in cities, states, and metropolitan planning organizations. Over 1.6 million Missourians live in a city with a Complete Streets policy.

Complete Streets policies do not mandate any particular facility or approach. They do not require any additional budget.  Rather, Complete Streets policies provide a framework for fully considering the needs of all citizens when roads and streets are designed and built.  Complete Streets policies ask road designers to do the best they can to accommodate walking, bicycling, transit, motorists, and people of all ages and abilities given the constraints every project faces, like budget and right-of-way limitations.

In short, Complete Streets policies ask road designers to consider the needs of people who live in the communities that roads serve, not just the needs of motor vehicles and traffic flow.

Is there public support for Complete Streets?

Why are Complete Streets policies so popular across Missouri and across the U.S.?

It is because people want to live in communities where it is safe and convenient to bike and walk--and not just for fit and able adults, but for children, for people of all ages, for people with disabilities.

We've seen the support for biking and walking in many polls and in the plans put forward by cities and agencies across the state.  Whenever these agencies ask people in their communities whether they support better bicycling and walking, they find out that people really do support it.

A recent poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates shows the strength and depth of Americans' support for biking and walking, and for changing the priorities within our transportation spending to fully incorporate biking and walking:

  • 83 percent of all respondents support maintaining or growing the federal funding streams that pay for sidewalks, bikeways, and bike paths.
  • 80 percent of Republican respondents and 88 percent of Democrat respondents think Congress should maintain or increase federal funds for biking and walking.
  • 85 percent of Northeastern respondents, 79 percent of Midwesterners, 84 percent of Southerners, and 84 percent of respondents from Western states reported support for maintaining or increasing funding for sidewalks and bikeways.
  • 91 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 support continuing or increasing biking and walking funds.

   AmericaBikes infographic summarizes Americans support for biking and walking   

Promoting Complete Streets polices across Missouri is one of the primary goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.  You can find sample Complete Streets policies and links to the information you need to move a Complete Streets policy forward in your own community on our Missouri Complete Streets page. Your membership and support for MoBikeFed helps make our vision a reality--and bring Complete Streets policies to more communities across Missouri.

Right now your membership or donation to MoBikeFed will be DOUBLED by a group of 38 generous donors.