To advocate for Complete Streets you will have to reach out to elected officials, government staff and the public. Describe your community’s problematic or unsafe streets: many communities have examples of schools that have no sidewalks out front, bus stops that are not accessible for people using mobility devices and stretches of arterial roadway without pedestrian crossings (NCSC).
Make your voice heard. In Canada, the municipal official plan (or its equivalent) is subject to regular public review. Public review is an opportunity to challenge elected official and government staff to recognize the needs of all road users.
Successful Complete Streets advocates organize around a clear message and specific goals: Conventional street design fails to provide adequate safety and convenience for user of all ages, abilities and modes. Canadians require a Complete Streets approach to ensure all streets are designed for all modes and all abilities (Alliance for Biking and Walking).
Strengthen your campaign by partnering with an organization with which you have common goals. Public health agencies, transit authorities, seniors’ advocates and all other groups that have a stake in streets that are safer and more convenient for all users make good allies in a campaign for Complete Streets (Alliance for Biking and Walking).
Remember that you might face opposition. Generations of planned auto-dependency means that Complete Streets advocates often face some opposition from elected officials, government staff and the public. Ready yourself with the latest resources, statistics, and information on Complete Streets in Canada and around the world. Check in with completestreetsforcanada.ca regularly for Policy and Design resources.
Support your case by demonstrating what a Complete Streets looks like. Use visualization of how an existing incomplete street can be made complete. Before and after renderings, such as those is TCAT’s Complete Streets by Design report, can be a particularly powerful visualization tools. These tools also help overcome some of the misconceptions about Complete Streets.
If you are interested in leading a Complete Streets campaign in your community check out the Alliance for Biking and Walking Guide to Complete Streets Campaigns.
Alliance for Biking and Walking. (Thunderhead Alliance). Guide to Complete Streets Campaigns. March 2006. www.thunderheadalliance.org/pdf/Guide%20Excerpts.pdf