Rockport Complete Streets Program

Complete Streets
Rockport Complete Streets Program

Program Overview

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Complete Streets Funding
Program was created to reward municipalities that demonstrate a commitment to creating
safer streets for all users and all modes of transportation.  There are three simple steps that
allow our community to benefit from the program:  
      1)    Tier 1 – Adoption of a Complete Streets Policy
      2)    Tier 2 – Application for up to $35,000 and the Creation of a Project Prioritization Plan
      3)    Tier 3 – Application for up to $400,000 in Construction Funding
Rockport has completed Tier 1 through the adoption of our Complete Streets policy which
occurred in the Fall of 2017. Rockport has recently received a grant in the amount of
$35,000 for planning technical assistance and is now commencing the creation of our
Project Prioritization Plan.

Town of Rockport
Safe and Accessible Streets Policy

Vision and Purpose

Complete Streets are designed and operated to provide safe and accessible environment for all users of roadways, trails and transit systems, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists, commercial vehicles, and emergency vehicles. Complete Streets practices consider users of all ages and abilities.

The implementation of Complete Streets principles supports the safety, health, economic viability, and general quality of life in a community by promoting a sustainable and cohesive transportation network with accessible and efficient connectivity between home, school, work,  recreation and retail destinations.

The Town of Rockport’s transportation network includes a combination of public and private streets, State Route 127, and the commuter rail, all of which connect Rockport to Gloucester and the world beyond the Annisquam River.  This network of roads and rail allows visitors to come to Rockport to enjoy our community’s harbors, beaches, scenery, restaurants and shopping, while providing our residents with a means to travel to and from their places of business and conduct their daily lives.

The purpose of the Town of Rockport’s Complete Streets Program is to accommodate residents and visitors by creating a transportation network that meets the needs of all user types, using a variety of transportation modes. It is the intent of the Town of Rockport to consider and incorporate, as a matter of course and to the extent reasonably possible, the principles of Complete Streets in the planning and design of transportation related capital projects, so that they are safe for users of all ages and abilities. This policy will guide our decision-makers to regularly plan, design, and construct capital projects to accommodate all anticipated users, as noted above.

Core Commitment:

The Town of Rockport recognizes that users of various modes of transportation, including, but not limited to, pedestrians, bicyclists, users of wheelchairs, transit and school bus riders, motorists, delivery and service personnel, freight haulers, and emergency responders, are legitimate users of streets and deserve safe facilities.  The Town further recognizes that all public transportation capital projects are potential opportunities to apply Complete Streets design principles. The Town will, to the maximum extent practical and with consideration to compatibility between modes, design, construct, maintain, and operate streets to provide for a comprehensive and integrated street network of facilities.

Complete Streets design shall be evaluated for all transportation related publicly funded capital projects, as appropriate, subject to the availability of funding and right of way.  All public transportation projects requiring funding or approval by the Town, as well as projects funded by the state and federal government, such as the Chapter 90 funds, Transportation Improvement Program, the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, Community Development Block Grants and other state and federal funds for transportation projects shall consider the Town’s Complete Streets Policy.  The priority in applying Complete Streets principles will be on the major roadways: arterials and collectors. 

Complete streets principles shall be considered for future public streets constructed as part of private developments, where the Town has jurisdictional review and approval authority. In addition, to the extent practical, the Town will collaborate with the jurisdictional agencies of state-owned roadways within Town boundaries to comply with the Complete Streets policy. Transportation infrastructure may be excluded, upon approval by the Board of Selectmen, where documentation and data indicate that:

  • Facilities where specific users are prohibited by law, such on private property.             
  • Where cost or impacts are excessively disproportionate to the benefit or expected use. Also on lightly travelled roadways where benefits are minimal.
  • Where topography or other circumstance make certain kinds of modes impractical.
  • Where sufficient funding or public right of way are not available for incorporation of all or certain design considerations, yet significant public benefits are still attainable by the project.

Best Practices:

            Our Complete Streets policy will focus on developing a connected integrated network that serves all road users. Complete Streets principles will be integrated into policies, planning, and design of all types of public and private projects, including new construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation of transportation facilities on roadway and redevelopment projects. Implementation of the Town of Rockport’s Complete Streets Policy will be carried out cooperatively between the involved departments within in the Town with multi-jurisdictional cooperation, as well as with private developers, and state, regional, and federal agencies, to the greatest extent possible.  The Town recognizes that Complete Streets principles may be achieved through single elements incorporated into a particular project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements or maintenance activities over time.

The latest available design guidance, standards, and recommendations will be used in the implementation of Complete Streets including:

  • The Massachusetts of Department of Transportation Project Design and Development Guidebook
  • The latest edition of American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) A Policy on Geometric Design of Highway and Streets
  • The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Design Controls (2009)
  • The Architectural Access Board (AAB) 521 CMR Rules and Regulations
  • Documents and plans created for Rockport, such as bicycle and pedestrian network plans.

     Our Complete Streets implementation and effectiveness will be annually evaluated for success and opportunities for improvement. The Town will work to develop performance measures to gauge the implementation and effectiveness of the policy.


The Town will adopt the application of Complete Streets practices in its approach to transportation projects as an opportunity to improve our streets and the overall transportation network for all users.  The various involved departments of the Town will work together and with agencies, and other jurisdictions to achieve Complete Streets.

Over time, the Town will review and either revise or develop proposed revisions to appropriate planning documents (master plans, open space and recreation plan, etc.), zoning and subdivision codes, laws, procedures, rules, regulations, guidelines, programs, and templates to integrate Complete Streets principles in street projects. A committee of relevant stakeholders, designated by the Town Manager, will be created to implement this initiative.                  

The Town will develop and maintain a comprehensive inventory of pedestrian and bicycle facility infrastructure to prioritize projects to reduce or eliminate gaps in the sidewalk and bikeway network.       

The Town will conduct training of pertinent town staff and decision-makers on the nature and characteristics of Complete Streets principles and best practices for implementing the policy through workshops and other appropriate means.

The Town will foster use inter-department coordination to promote a responsible and efficient use of resources for activities in regard to Complete Streets.                      

The Town will seek out appropriate sources of funding and grants for implementation of Complete Streets policies.

Adopted by Board of Selectmen September 5, 2017