Complete Streets

People serving People

At the meeting on April 16, 2018, Sarnia City Council received the draft Complete Streets Guideline for consideration for approval at the May 28, 2018 meeting. The document is posted here for review and your feedback is welcome.

Complete Streets is a shift in mindset from the historical car centric streets to modern multi-purpose streets that appropriately support all modes of transportation. They are streets that are designed for all ages and abilities; balancing vehicle traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, and transit. Complete Streets are attractive and livable streets that support independence for our aging population and active transportation options desired by current and new residents. The term and concept have been gaining popularity throughout North America over the past decade. Most major cities have a Complete Streets guideline or design manual.

City Staff have developed a Complete Streets Guideline (Link to Complete Streets Guideline) customized to Sarnia that outlines the philosophy and concisely highlights a number of tools that can be utilized to create a Complete Street. The intent is not to create strict rules but to emphasize the concept, provide high level ideas, and then allow each individual project to apply the most appropriate tools for the local context. The purpose of Complete Streets is not to negatively impact vehicle traffic but to encourage more integration of other modes of transportation into the design of our city. Complete Streets tools range from ensuring a consistent sidewalk network in residential areas to a full streetscaping project for a major downtown street. The guideline highlights many local examples of Complete Streets components that have been incorporated into City projects.

Figure 1 provides an example of a Complete Streets tool from the guideline. Projects should consider adding or upgrading cycling facilities when appropriate. Old Lakeshore Road is a great example of a cost neutral improvement to the multi-use path that was made during the reconstruction project. Shifting the lane marking provides additional space for cyclists and pedestrians, and provides a traffic calming effect to vehicles without negatively impacting the overall capacity of the road.

Complete Streets is already identified as a City policy in section of the Official Plan and many of the tools are supported by various sections in the Official Plan. However, the concept and philosophy are not widely understood. The purpose of this Complete Streets Guideline is to present the concept in a simple and attractive format to educate the public and to inspire designers and developers. If approved, staff will review how best to incorporate into the development process. Complete Streets would be incorporated into a pre-submission guide for applicants for consideration, not as a requirement, and can be used by staff and the public to evaluate applications.

The draft document has been endorsed by a number of committees and community organizations. Endorsements are acknowledged on page 3 of the document.

The City welcomes your feedback on the Complete Streets Guideline. Written comments related to the guideline should be submitted to the Engineering Department by Friday, May 11, 2018.  Comments can be sent by e-mail to, or mailed to the Engineering Department, 3rd Floor, Sarnia City Hall, 255 North Christina Street, P.O. Box 3018, Sarnia, Ontario N7T 7N2.

A report will be prepared for the Monday, May 28, 2018 Sarnia City Council to seek Council’s approval of the guideline.