Complete Streets Policy

Complete-StreetThe City of Rochester recognizes that our streets should accommodate a wide range of transportation modes and balance the needs and interests of users of all ages and abilities in a context-sensitive manner. Our streets are the focal point of the public realm, the primary means by which we experience our city. As such, our streets are a reflection of our community.  

A complete street is one that accommodates all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with disabilities.  While different features may be necessary or feasible to complete a street, the goal of accommodating everyone remains the same.  A good example of a complete street in Rochester is South Avenue through the South Wedge neighborhood. While serving as the neighborhood’s main street, South Avenue boasts complete street features, such as convenient two way travel, wide sidewalks, bike lanes, street lighting, signalized crosswalks, ADA sidewalk ramps, curb bump-outs to shorten crossing distances, on-street parking, bike racks and benches at bus stops.   

Rochester’s Complete Streets Policy went into effect December 1st, 2011. As part of Rochester's 2034 Comprehensive Plan, the City developed a Comprehensive Access and Mobility Plan. This plan includes a Street Design Guide, to help implement the Complete Streets Policy. This Plan and Guide can be found here.

Many of our city streets seem to have been designed with only the motorist in mind.  However, streets that are inhospitable to bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and the disabled are not indicative of the city we strive to be. Rochester’s Complete Streets Policy ensures that all future street design efforts will fully consider the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with disabilities.  Rather than an afterthought, active transportation is now at the forefront of the planning and design of our city streets.   


Complete streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained to enable safe access for all users including people with mobility, vision, hearing or cognitive disabilities.  This is especially important given that a large portion of the Rochester population does not have access to a personal motor vehicle and thus relies on other means of transportation to go about their daily lives.  Our streets will better accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with disabilities while continuing to serve the demands of motor vehicles.  


Whether you are walking to the store or waiting at the bus stop, the built environment can have an impact on the safety of all users of the public right of way.  The Complete Streets Policy will help to improve public safety by installing and maintaining sidewalks, crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps and bike lanes, as well as reducing crossing distances, lowering motor vehicle travel speeds and improving sight distances. 

Public Health

Public streets designed solely for motor vehicles can make for unpleasant or unsafe travel by any other means.  Sidewalks alone are not enough when they are too narrow to serve demand or do not provide safe places to cross large intersections.  This discourages use of active transportation, which has serious health implications for our population. Complete streets provide more opportunities for more people to enjoy a healthier active lifestyle that includes walking or bicycling on a daily basis. 

Viable Communities

Businesses and residents both benefit from the appeal and improved economic conditions created from interconnected complete streets in neighborhoods and communities.  Commercial and retail areas can be exposed to more consumers by making the neighborhood more accessible, convenient and welcoming to residents and visitors.  Residents enjoy the benefits that come with reduced dependence on the automobile and businesses benefit as less money spent at the pump means more money invested in the local economy. 


If you have additional questions about complete streets, contact:

Darin Ramsay, Transportation Specialist, (585) 428-6695, or email him.