London is a relatively large city in southwestern Ontario. It is located along the Thames River, approximately 200 km from Toronto. In May 2019, the Ontario Traffic Council awarded London with the Transportation Planning Project of the Year for the city’s Complete Street Design Manual.
In 2013, the Transportation Master Plan and Urban Design Guidelines identified Complete Streets as a direction for the City of London:
“Twenty-one specific initiatives are proposed to further development and implementation in the short-term…Among these included developing policies focused on “Complete Streets” and people (not just vehicles) movement” (p.15).
The London Plan (2016) includes a new street classification system that accounts for surrounding land uses, a prioritization of modes within these new street types (for example, a main street gives priority to pedestrians), and a chart with design elements for each new street type. The plan’s stated goals include:
- “Link land use and transportation plans to ensure they are integrated and mutually supportive,” (60.4)
- “Design streets and rights-of-way to provide a variety of safe, convenient, attractive, viable, and accessible mobility choices for all Londoners” (313.6)
All these elements mean that the Complete Streets approach is well incorporated in their official documents. The City would still benefit from a detailed implementation strategy centered around routine accommodation (ie. making improvements to accommodate all users every time road maintenance is undertaken), and the plan states that:
“A Complete Streets Design Manual may be prepared to establish the design parameters for the public realm and the overall cross-sections for the street classifications identified above,” (377).
In August 2018, London released their Complete Streets Design Manual. The Manual will serve to guide the decision-making process for street design as London continues to grow and evolve. London’s streets will be designed and upgraded to be more “complete.” This means that streets in London will meet the needs of a wide range of users, as defined by the place type. Streets will feature high-quality pedestrian environments and integrate seamlessly with transit services, cycling networks, and automobile users. London’s streets will be designed for connectivity and support the use of active and sustainable modes of transportation, and also strongly consider the needs of utility and maintenance providers within the right-of-way. With this balance of modes, users, and places in mind, future construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation projects for streets in London, both large and small, will be influenced by principles of “completeness” in both planning and design. In May 2019, the Ontario Traffic Council awarded London with the Transportation Planning Project of the Year for the city’s Complete Street Design Manual.