Warsaw, Missouri, adopts Missouri's 29th Complete Streets Policy

March 21st, Warsaw, Missouri adopt a Complete Streets policy.  Warsaw's policy is the 29th Complete Streets Policy in Missouri and one of the first adopted by a smaller rural town.  Warsaw is a town of 2100 in rural Benton County, Missouri.  Warsaw joins an elite group of Missouri cities who are setting the standard for livability, connectivity, and community health by adopting Complete Streets policies.

New sidewalk connects Warsaw's riverfront park to downtown
New sidewalk connects Warsaw's riverfront park to downtown. This is the type of connect Complete Streets policies make routine.

Warsaw has worked to integrate bicycling, walking, trails, parks, and healthy lifestyles into its city and region-wide economic development plan. The city has worked to develop a mountain bike park, a system of trails and bicycle routes in and around the city, an improved, walkable downtown area, a system of parks connected by trails, a beautiful rivefront harbor and park connected to downtown, and much more.  The city has recently adopted an ambitious regional trails and bikeway plan.  The Complete Streets Policy is an essential part of the city's planning to make the entire city and region walkable and bicycleable--because the Complete Streets elements allow every neighborhood, school, and commercial area of the city to make the "last mile" connection to the city's trails and bikeways system. 

The result is that people can--and do--regularly bike to destinations around the city, including downtown, parks, and schools. People from all around the county and region come to Warsaw to use the trail and bikeway system.

Warsaw's Complete Streets Policy

The city's new policy, adopted by ordinance, follows many of the best practices for Complete Streets Policies promoted by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

In addition to the complete Streets Policy itself, the city has adopted a new city comprehensive plan called "Building on Success to Capitalize on the Future".  The comprehensive plan includes:

  • Updates to the city's transportation improvement plan to harmonize with Complete Streets--including bike lanes on all primary streets and shared bicycle facilities on all secondary streets.  Appropriate pedestrian improvements are also included.
  • Updates to the city's planning and zoning regulations that encourage and require adherence to Complete Streets standards on roads and rights-of-way in any new development.  Additionally, new developments must connect to the trail network where possible.

In the excerpts from the new Complete Streets Policy, below, you can see how the city will implement the main thrust of Complete Streets: Making the city's streets, and the entire city, safe, accessible, and available for all users of the transportation system, including those who walk, bicycle, use transit, drive, including people of all ages, and including people of all levels of ability and disability.

Warsaw's trails and bikeways plan - the plan connects Warsaw to the region and r
Warsaw's trails and bikeways plan - the plan connects Warsaw to the region and reaches many destinations. Complete Streets will fill in the gaps in the plan and allow easy, safe access to every part of the city..

The purpose of this policy is to set forth guiding principles and practices for use in all transportation projects, where practicable, economically feasible, and otherwise in accordance with applicable law, so as to encourage walking, bicycling, and other non- motorized forms of transit, in addition to normal motorized transit, including personal, freight, and public transit vehicles. All uses must be designed to allow safe operations for all users regardless of age or ability. The ultimate goal of this policy is the creation of an interconnected network of Complete Streets that balances the needs of all users in pleasant and appealing ways in order to achieve maximum functionality and use. . . . 

Complete street" defined. A complete street is designed to be a transportation corridor for all users: pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and motorists. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe continuous travel networks for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move from destination to destination along and across a network of complete streets. Transportation improvements, facilities and amenities that may contribute to complete streets and that are considered as elements of a complete street" include: street and sidewalk lighting; pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements; access improvements, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; public transit facilities accommodation including, but not limited, to pedestrian access improvement to transit stops and stations; street trees and landscaping; drainage; and street amenities. . . . 

The city will strive, where practicable and economically feasible, to incorporate " complete streets" elements into all public transportation projects in order to provide appropriate accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users and persons of all abilities, while promoting safe operation for all users, in comprehensive and connected networks in a manner consistent with, and supportive of the surrounding community. . . .

Warsaw's riverfront park and harbor is immediately adjacent to downtown
Warsaw's riverfront park and harbor is immediately adjacent to downtown

The city will incorporate complete streets principles into all public strategic plans, upon subsequent updates. The principles, where practicable, shall be incorporated into other public works plans, manuals, rules, regulations, operational standards, and programs as appropriate and directed by the city administrator. The principles shall be incorporated into appropriate materials and resources no later than two years after the adoption ofthis ordinance. . . . 

The city recognizes that complete streets may be achieved through single elements incorporated into a particular project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements or maintenance activities over time. The city will attempt to draw upon all possible funding sources to plan and implement this policy and shall investigate grants that may be available to make complete streets elements more economically feasible. . . .

The city recognizes that the elements comprising a complete street are only effective when appealing and pleasant to use and will ensure improvements meet those standards. 

Missouri Livable Streets, a project of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, has been working with Warsaw and other communities across Missouri to promote Complete Streets policies for more than five years.  Warsaw's recent Complete Streets Policy is just one of the results of that multi-year effort.  The Missouri Livable Streets web site has many excellent resources that can help to move your community forward with Complete Streets.

Working to create a world-class transportation system for people who walk and bicycle in Missouri is one of the four primary goals in MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Working for adoption of Complete Streets Policies at all levels of government across Missouri--city, county, regional, state, and national--is an important part of achieving that Vision. 

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help turn our Vision into reality!