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NashVitality Being Active: Complete Streets

Former Mayor Karl Dean signed an Executive Order formalizing Nashville's "Complete Streets" policy in October of 2010. The policy ensures that public streets are built to accommodate all modes of transportation, including walking, bicycling and mass transit.

"For decades Nashville roads were built with only cars in mind," Dean said. "We have come a long way in recent years in terms of adding sidewalks and bikeways, and making mass transit more convenient for people to use. This Executive Order will ensure that now and in the future we continue to take all reasonable measures to develop new and reconstructed streets in a way that makes all of these modes of transportation more accessible. It's important for the health of our citizens and for our city's long-term sustainability."

In the 2010-2011 capital spending plan, Mayor Dean set aside $12.5 million dollars for sidewalks, $3 million for bikeways, and more than $10 million for mass transit - spending nearly 60 percent of Nashville's local transportation dollars on walking, biking and transit infrastructure. This excludes funding for projects like the 28th Avenue connector that will include dedicated space for walking and bicycling.

In recent years Metro Public Works has implemented Complete Street principles on roadways in rural and urban areas. The principles generally call for a "one size does not fit all" approach to design. Types of complete streets will vary based on the physical context and character of an area. The Deaderick Street improvement project, Shelby Avenue in East Nashville, Belmont Boulevard and Otter Creek are often cited as exemplar Complete Streets in the Nashville area. The most recent Complete Street in Nashville is the 28th/31st Avenue Connector completed in 2012. Complete Streets will not always look the same, but will include bike, pedestrian, vehicle and transit facilities as needed in a manner that complements the character and setting of the area.