Why Livable Streets Matters

Walking School Bus

Students participating in a Walking School Bus event. Photo courtesy Brent Hugh, MO Bike Federation.

While the last 100 years have brought great gains in medicine, science and technology, perhaps less noticed has been the growth of transportation design for automobiles. In many communities across Missouri and the nation, it can be harder to walk to the grocery store, to school or to work. Streets may be narrow or have no shoulders to protect a bicyclist trying to log a few miles. Sidewalks may not connect to roads where seniors need to walk. Crosswalks may not be there to help families with children navigate their neighborhood streets safely.

Livable Streets and Complete Streets policies have successfully used in Missouri to help change these trends. These policies represent approaches that consider the needs of all users and help them get to where they need to go safely. Citizens benefit from increased physical activity and communities benefit when their small businesses see more customers or homeowners see their property values rise.

There are no requirements for Livable Streets street designs. It’s simply meant to provide what is needed, where it is needed for the safety of all street users. New street design features will look different whether you’re in a big city, suburb, or rural town. Typically, features include:

• Shoulders on rural roads

• Sidewalks, crosswalks, and accessible curb cuts

• Bicycle lanes

• Median refuges

• Bus shelters

• Bump outs for sidewalks and bus stops

• Audible pedestrian signals