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Bringing Complete Streets to Life with Unilock Pavers

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From the adoption of bike lanes to the evolution of rapid transit projects such as the Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit, communities are taking comprehensive approaches to the development of new and pre-existing roadways. In an effort to make these spaces more accessible for everyone, these improvements are referred to as a “Complete Street” design approach.

Complete streets aim to satisfy the needs of all users, including those who walk, bike, utilize public transportation, or drive, regardless of age or physical ability. Ontario became the first province in Canada to implement a Complete Streets strategy for both new and rehabilitated streets with the amendment to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan in May 2017. In August 2022, U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which recognizes and funds landscape architecture approaches to climate change, such as the building or improvement of Complete Streets.

The Complete Streets approach can vary from city to city, as not every type of use or user may be accommodated on every street. In order to promote and preserve our quality of life, a functional street network can accomplish a number of objectives, including:

  • Location and Usage. Consider where the street is located and who frequents the street.
  • Aesthetic Beauty. Determine how to design a vibrant street while also encouraging future visits from residents and visitors.
  • Active Transportation. Consider how to improve mobility and accessibility across all modes of transportation (i.e. vehicles, cyclists, wheelchairs, pedestrians, etc.).
  • Safety. Can we design our streets to feel safe and easy to navigate?
  • How can we prioritize mobility for vulnerable members of the community, such as seniors, children, people with disabilities, communities of color and low-income residents?
  • How can we design our streets to connect seamlessly with retail, community and green spaces?
  • Cost-efficiency. Consider the environmental, social, economic benefits and costs associated with their construction, operation and maintenance.

How does Unilock Contribute to the Complete Street Plan?

In the grand scheme of designing streets and roadways to link communities, Unilock pavers can have a significant impact. Commercial projects, such as Dundas Place or Bremner Blvd., have redefined streetscapes to encourage flexibility for all kinds of travel. In addition to reflecting the school’s creative spirit, the Creative Campus in Columbus, Ohio incorporated a pixilated paver design using Unilock pavers with Series™ finish, making use of color patterns and designs to offer visual cues for pedestrian crosswalks and roadways.

The “outside in” philosophy of Complete Streets recognizes the value of streets as both public gathering areas and means of transportation. The Grafton Lumberyard in Wisconsin underwent redevelopment, turning the underutilized space into a dynamic public plaza, featuring urban design features such as seating areas, planting, light fixtures and a stream-like water feature. Unilock Eco-Promenade™ plank pavers not only add a sleek, contemporary feel, but are an environmentally sustainable solution to handle flooding. They are designed with wider joints, while remaining ADA compliant, allowing for the absorption of rainwater back into the subsoil, effectively mitigating the risk of carrying harmful chemicals and pollutants back into sewer drains.

As individual streets have varying priorities depending on their location, context, and function within the transportation system, the Complete Streets concept acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to street design. They play a fundamental yet crucial role in building stronger communities where everyone has the chance to live in a place that is secure, prosperous, and healthy.

At Unilock, we take pride in offering a wide range of paving alternatives to meet your design goals for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Connect with your local Unilock representative to learn more.

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