To read this document, sign up for free access to our entire library

By joining the ChangeLab Solutions community, you'll get access to all our law & policy resources. And we'll notify you when we release a new tool related to your sector or area of interest.

California Complete Streets Policies

Model law, resolution, and general plan language

Model Legal Document
Healthy Neighborhoods

Complete streets, on the other hand, are designed and built so that people of all ages and abilities can travel easily and safely, while also getting the regular physical activity.

All across America, there is a movement afoot to build complete streets that allow people to get around safely, even when they aren't inside a car. Conventional street design promotes traffic congestion, pollution, and collisions, and discourages physical activity.

CALIFORNIA LAW: Planning for Complete Streets Is Now Required

Street design and land use policies that plan for complete streets allow people in your community to get around safely on foot, bicycle, or public transportation. In California, this planning is now required by law. As of 2011, the California Complete Streets Act requires cities and counties making substantive revisions to the circulation element of their general plans to include modifications to plan for complete streets. That means the next time your town or county makes a substantive revision to its general plan circulation element, it must include complete streets policies.

Model Policies for California

ChangeLab Solutions has developed three model policies to help California communities embrace complete streets, no matter how new or experienced they are with this idea:

  • Getting started: The Model Complete Streets Resolution allows a community to express its support of complete streets and provides a process for moving toward general plan language and a more rigorous policy
  • Complying with state law: The Model General Plan Language on Complete Streets is designed to fully comply with the requirements of state law and includes a transportation vision statement as well as model goals, objectives, and implementation policies for fostering complete streets.
  • Making implementation successful: The Model Complete Streets Ordinance is designed to assist communities in ensuring strong implementation of complete streets, particularly the follow-up steps necessary after a community has adopted complete streets general plan language.

Bay Area Model Resolution for MTC

The MTC is requiring Bay Area cities and counties to adopt complete streets resolutions in order to be eligible for certain funding. Click here to see the model resolution developed for the MTC process.