Complete Green Streets

Streets in Madison move people, but are also our largest public spaces. Safe, connected, and resilient streets are critical to the quality of life, health, and mobility of residents and visitors to the City of Madison. Streets play an important role in moving people and goods, supporting environmental sustainability, fostering economic activity and facilitating a wide array of uses and activities. The importance of these spaces requires a design approach that considers that multiple roles that streets serve.

Madison has a history of designing streets to accommodate all modes of travel and developing and maintaining a safe, efficient, economical, equitable, and sustainable transportation system for Madison's residents and visitors. In 2009, the City of Madison reaffirmed the City’s commitment to Complete Streets in Resolution 09-00997 and directed staff to follow to the extent possible Complete Streets concepts.

This Complete Green Streets Guide will provide a more detailed framework for implementing Complete Streets while also considering the green infrastructure needed to address sustainability goals. In 2022, the City adopted a Vision Zero Action Plan with a goal to eliminate serious and fatal traffic crashes and this guide prioritizes safety for all users over high speeds for those who choose to drive. This guide supports Vision Zero in that safety for all users is prioritized.


Complete Green Streets Approach

The Complete Green Streets approach provides a consistent process for planning, designing, building, and operating streets in a way that better reflects our community values and increases safety and equity. When we use the word “street,” we are referring to the sidewalks, terraces, roadway, and everything in between. Complete Green Streets provides:

Image that shows the segments of the Complete Green Streets Approach


Frequently Asked Questions


Street values shape how we make decisions and what we prioritize in our transportation system. These values guide decisions related to the design, operation, and use of streets and transportation in the City of Madison.

Graphic about centering equity in the Complete Green Streets Approach
Through our engagement we heard:

  • Putting people first: prioritize safety, comfort, and well-being which de-emphasizes speed and convenience
  • Supporting community: create safe, welcoming places and emphasize short trips and access to local destinations
  • Fostering sustainability: promote walking, biking, and transit and use streets to expand the urban tree canopy and clean stormwater
  • Centering equity: engage inclusively, provide access to opportunities, prioritize, and support the needs of historically underserved people (race, culture, age, income, and gender identity)

The modal hierarchy below illustrates the order in which various travel modes are accommodated by default. It is a way of translating street values into design decisions.

Graphic, layers in an upside down triangle, discussing the modal hierarchy

For example, our “putting people first” value means prioritizing the safety and comfort of people walking and using wheelchairs. On some streets, the priority of uses will be different, based on context and overlays. This hierarchy represents the default starting point and broad city policy.

Community Engagement

Engagement for the Complete Green Streets guide is part of the Let’s Talk Streets initiative, which focuses on better understanding community values and applying those to transportation initiatives.


Project Materials
Complete Green Streets Guide
  • Enacted January 6, 2023 Legistar File 74926


Enhanced Distributed Green Infrastructure & Tree Canopy Guidance Report
December 8, 2022


Appendix A-D and F

Appendix E: ROW Tree Canopy Map
Appendix E: Green Infrastructure Map
Appendix E: Flooding Frequency
Appendix E: Salt Route Map
Appendix E: Wellhead Protection Zones
Engagement & Equity Framework Summary Document
Let’s Talk Streets Overview Video
May 2021

English Video

Spanish Video
Street Stats
April 2021
Maps & Data
Board, Committee & Commission Meeting Materials
Board of Public Works
Nov 2, 2022
Overview of Process Presentation
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
Oct 24, 2022
Engagement, Equity, Green Infrastructure and Design Details Presentation
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
Aug 15, 2022


Modal Priority Network Background Information

Draft Street Typology Map
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
Feb 14, 2022
Engagement, Equity and Modal Priorities Presentation

Transportation Policy & Planning Board
Nov 14, 2022

Process Overview
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
Oct 18, 2021
Engagement and Street Typology Presentation
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
Aug 16, 2021
Engagement, Modal Hierarchy & Foundation Presentation
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
May 17, 2021
Engagement & Street Stats Presentation
Transportation Policy & Planning Board
April 19, 2021
Engagement & Disparities Presentation
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