Boston Complete Streets Guidelines

The Guidelines are in development and are updated on a rolling basis. Please join the discussion with your comments. A comprehensive draft will be released in Spring 2011 for formal review.

Blue = For Review Italic = Coming Soon

2 :: Sidewalks

Entire chapter


Sidewalk Zones

Features to Activate Sidewalk

Sidewalk Materials

Street Trees

Stormwater Plantings

Street Furniture

Street Lights

Public Art

Transit Stops

4 :: Intersections

Entire chapter

Multimodal Checklist Chart


Placemaking at Intersections

Intersection Geometry


Unsignalized Intersections

Signalized Intersections

Transit Accommodation

Bicycle Accommodation

Boston's Complete Streets

"The car is no longer the king in Boston." With these words, in fall 2009, Mayor Thomas M. Menino ushered in a new era of street design in the City of Boston.

The new Complete Streets approach puts pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users on equal footing with motor-vehicle drivers. The initiative aims to improve the quality of life in Boston by creating streets that are both great public spaces and sustainable transportation networks. It embraces innovation to address climate change and promote healthy living. The objective is to ensure Boston's streets are:


Incorporates pedestrians, people with disabilities, bicyclists, transit users, motor vehicle drivers. Multimodal level of service (LOS) informs roadway design to ensure that streets are shared by all users and not dominated by cars.


Incorporates street trees, rain gardens, bio-swales, paving materials and permeable surfaces, with plants and soils collecting rain water to reduce flooding and poluution. Green design elements promote an environmentally sensitive, sustainable use of the public right-of-way.


Incorporate intellligent signals, smart meters, electric vehicle charing, car and bicycle-sharing, way-finding and social networks for greater system efficiencies and user convenience.

Led by the Boston Transportation Department, key city agencies have been meeting with some of the country's most innovative practitioners in an unprecedented collaboration to develop new street design guidelines and implement projects informed with the new Complete Streets approach.