Context - Fall 2016 - 22

Complete Streets in Philadelphia
and the Delaware Valley
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are leaders in Complete Streets at the
state level. In 2008 the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
worked with both state departments of transportation to develop a
Smart Transportation Guidebook. The Guidebook provides tools for
transportation decision makers to plan and design streets in ways
that work for all users. More recently, Reading, Pennsylvania was
recognized as having the best Complete Streets policy in the nation
in 2015, receiving a perfect score from the Coalition.
The City of Philadelphia has also made Complete Streets a focal point
of its efforts. The Philadelphia Complete Streets Design Handbook, published by former Mayor Nutter's Office of Transportation and Utilities
(since replaced by the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure
Systems, or OTIS), provides guidance on how the City's streets should
be designed and built to be safe, convenient, and comfortable for
everyone. In just a few short years since the Handbook was prepared,
Philadelphia has seen the benefits of the Complete Streets philosophy.
To underscore the importance of Complete Streets to Philadelphia,
Mayor Kenney announced earlier this year that he would appoint a
Complete Streets Commissioner.
Philadelphia, like many other communities across the country,
has recognized that effective community involvement is essential in
implementing Complete Streets. One example is the proposed Mantua
Greenway project in West Philadelphia. In 2014, Mantua was named
one of President Barack Obama's first five Promise Zones. The "We Are
Mantua!" neighborhood planning effort established a comprehensive
plan for revitalization. The first major project resulting from the plan

FALL 2016 | context | AIA Philadelphia



for all users. People of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along
and across streets in a community, regardless of how they are traveling."
Rather than being a design prescription that requires sidewalks, bike lanes,
and bus stops on all streets, Complete Streets is process-oriented. With a
Complete Streets policy in place, a community ensures that all users-not
just drivers-are accounted for when transportation decisions are made.
The principal focus of the Coalition has been policy development. As
of spring 2016 over 900 Complete Streets policies had been enacted
across the United States. These policies, enacted at the state, regional,
county, and local levels, aim to change the processes by which streets are
planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained. Complete Streets
policies ensure that people walking, bicycling, and riding transit are the
norm rather than exceptions that require special design treatments. The
ultimate goal of all of this policy work, of course, is implementation.
Communities are only positively affected once physical changes are
made and experienced on an everyday basis.
It is also critical to note that the street right of way cannot be considered independently. Context is critically important. Buildings shape
the street, creating a sense of enclosure, transparency, and connectivity
that is essential to the functioning of a street in the public realm. And
streets shape buildings as well, informing their relationships to each
other and to the community.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Context - Fall 2016

Editors’ Letter
Up Close
Design Profiles
Index to Advertisers
Mayor Kenney’s Infrastructure Policy
Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia: The Reading Viaduct Rail Park
Streets: They’re Not Just for Cars Any More
Context - Fall 2016 - ebelly1
Context - Fall 2016 - ebelly2
Context - Fall 2016 - cover1
Context - Fall 2016 - cover2
Context - Fall 2016 - 3
Context - Fall 2016 - 4
Context - Fall 2016 - Editors’ Letter
Context - Fall 2016 - Community
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Context - Fall 2016 - 9
Context - Fall 2016 - Up Close
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Context - Fall 2016 - Mayor Kenney’s Infrastructure Policy
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Context - Fall 2016 - 15
Context - Fall 2016 - Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia: The Reading Viaduct Rail Park
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Context - Fall 2016 - Streets: They’re Not Just for Cars Any More
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Context - Fall 2016 - Expression
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Context - Fall 2016 - Design Profiles
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Context - Fall 2016 - Marketplace
Context - Fall 2016 - Index to Advertisers
Context - Fall 2016 - cover3
Context - Fall 2016 - cover4