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Building Complete Streets


We have built roads and neighborhoods in such a way that we have engineered physical activity out of our lives. In many places, it is dangerous to walk across the street or for a child to walk or bike to school.

Changing the way we get around our communities can seem overwhelming, and changes in transportation happen slowly. But the potential is great. Policies that prioritize health through public transportation today will create long-term changes for generations of San Mateo County children, adults, and seniors.

The more spread out our communities are, the more we drive to get around. The more we drive, the less active we are. Building healthy communities isn’t just about driving less. It’s also about creating social connections, downtowns and neighborhoods where people know each other. It’s about quality housing that everyone can afford. It’s about streets designed for people of all ages and abilities – streets that invite us to walk and window shop, and sit for a while.

Complete streets:

  • Allow our older adults to easily live and get around in their neighborhood
  • Are safe for our children to walk or bike to school
  • Bring neighbors together and help reduce crime
  • Make it easier to be healthy

Building complete streets healthy communities requires a long-term commitment, with a payoff that is well worth our time and effort. This commitment involves making changes to our land use policies and plans, and then putting these these policies and plans into action through zoning and development permit changes.

Most of these changes are made by City Planning Departments and Commissions and approved by City Councils. Some decisions are made by regional planning agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the City County Association of Governments (C/CAG). All of these agencies need support from residents to make our communities healthy.

Learn how you can help build a healthier community: Building Health into San Mateo County Cities.