Complete Streets 

The City of Virginia Beach has adopted a Complete Streets Policy, which originated from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant administered by Smart Growth America. The grant funded a two-day Complete Streets workshop with the various city, state, and regional stakeholders and the public. This workshop provided the impetus for a City staff committee to develop the policy.

Purpose of a Complete Street Policy

The purpose of the Complete Streets Policy is to improve the Virginia Beach transportation system by providing safe, attractive travel for all users through a system of connected transportation choices designed in harmony with adjacent land uses. This policy will ensure that all users of roadways are considered with the design and construction of new roadways.

What is a Complete Street?

The Smart Growth American National Complete Streets Coalition defines complete streets as follows: "Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations."

Drafting a Complete Streets Policy

The Virginia Beach Comprehensive Plan, adopted by City Council in 2009, calls for the creation of a definition and applicability of a citywide "Complete Streets" policy. The City of Virginia Beach Strategic Growth Areas Department received a grant by Smart Growth America to hold a complete streets workshop. This well attended and successful workshop was held in April 2013. Shortly following this workshop, the City of Virginia Beach established a staff committee to meet on a monthly basis to develop a complete streets policy. This committee began meeting in May 2013 and completed its work in October 2014. 

Goals of the City’s adopted Complete Street Policy

    • Consider all users in all aspects of the project development process for surface transportation.
    • Match and balance roadway functions with user needs, both at the roadway segment level and as part of the larger transportation networks.
    • Develop the public rights of way in harmony with the adjacent land uses.
    • Develop an attractive and sustainable transportation system.
    • Promote public health by supporting healthy lifestyle choices and improved air quality.
    • Promote safety and accident reduction.
    • Increase the economic value of business districts and neighborhoods.

Design Standards and Guidelines for Complete Streets 

Designers may consider flexibility in design to the fullest extent allowed by law and regulation. The following standards and guidelines will be used as applicable:

    • Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (the “Green Book”, AASHTO)
    • Guide for the Planning, Designing and Operating of Pedestrian Facilities (AASHTO)
    • Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO)
    • Roadside Development Guide (AASHTO)
    • Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (“MUTCD”, FHWA)
    • Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (US Access Board) 
    • ADA Standards for Accessible Design (US Access Board)
    • Virginia Supplement to the MUTCD (VDOT)
    • Road Design Manual (VDOT)
    • Road & Bridge Standards (VDOT) 
    • Structure & Bridge Manual (VDOT)
    • Multimodal System Design Guidelines (VDRPT)
    • Public Works Design Standards Manual