April 15 2013

“Living Streets” in Rural Colorado

Complete street design isn’t just for cities: rural communities can follow the theme, too.


Living or complete streets reference street design practices incorporating all modes of transportation applicable to a specific street. For instance, public transportation, bicycles, sidewalks/walking, pedestrian “safe zones”’ basic automobiles, etc. are all taken into consideration. The over-arching goal is to make modern street design safe, viable, multi-modal, and sustainable for all to use. Perhaps the best aspect of complete or living streets is the adaptable aspect; this isn’t a cookie-cutter design for every street across the globe. Living streets change depending on the overall purpose of the street and the needs addressed by the community for it.

The Model for Design Manual for Living Streets stems from Los Angeles County via multiple players: the Department of Health and Human ServicesLos Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

Model Design Manual for Living Streets

Buena Vista, Colorado adopted the Model Design Manual for Living Streets last year in an effort to update their street design practices. In adopting the full manual, Buena Vista applies it to all street, trail, and tree design. Tree Design? Yes, BV has one of the oldest Tree Advisory Boards in the state of Colorado, if not nationally, almost 30 years! The Town administration, Trail, Tree, and Beautification Advisory Boards all use the manual for design guidelines. The two most recent street projects, Cedar Street and Gregg Drive, will be living streets once completed this year. Cedar Street will be fully paved with bike lanes, sidewalks, and trees along both sides. Gregg Drive will be fully paved with a detached trail and additional landscape design.

BV has been benefitting from the adoption of the Living Streets manual for just under a year; would it make a difference in your community?

Credits: Manual image linked to source; other image by Katie Poppel. Data linked to sources.

Katie Poppel

Katie Poppel comes to The Grid as a student constantly on the go. Set to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 2014, she is studying for a bachelor of urban planning with focuses in urban design and sustainability. Her program has allowed her to work for the City of Chicago and the Congress for New Urbanism this past year, as well as study abroad at the University of Amsterdam, College of Social Sciences. In her free time, you can find her exploring cities, playing soccer, or skiing. She has a serious case of wanderlust and enjoys the rush of cities over the countryside. Katie writes from Colorado, as she interns for the small town of Buena Vista south of Denver.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 9:28 am and is filed under Environmental Design, Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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