The land development process has a documented impact on the quality of our watersheds. One of the best ways to mitigate these impacts is to control the way that development sites are designed. Better site design is a process by which local governments can review their zoning and ordinance codes to minimize impervious cover and promote conservation of natural areas. This presentation outlines 22 model principles for land development that focus on streets, parking lots, lot design, and conservation of natural areas in new developments.
Better Site Design: Model Development Principles to Protect Our Streams, Lakes, and Wetlands Presented by:
PRINCIPLE NO. 1 Reduce Residential Street Width
Design residential streets for minimum pavement width needed to support travel lanes; on-street parking; and emergency, maintenance, and service vehicle access.
Street widths should be based on traffic volume.
Residential streets are often excessively wide, especially when blanket application of highway design criteria are used. Photo Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection
Narrow residential streets reduce traffic speeds, improve safety, provide sufficient access and parking, and reduce the amount of impervious cover created. Photo Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection
Residential street right-of-way widths should be the minimum to accommodate the travel-way, the sidewalk, and open channels .
Utilities and storm drains should be located within the pavement section of the right-of-way.
Blanket application of street design standards can create excessively wide right-of-ways. Photo Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection
Rather than a small median dividing the street right-of-ways, this monumental entryway can provide open space and a more attractive street layout between right-of-ways. Photo Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection
The use of most of the parking spaces provided in a lot, most of the time, is one of the goals of principle #6. Photo Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection
PRINCIPLE NO. 7 Reduce Parking Ratios for Mass Transit or Shared Parking
Parking codes should be revised to lower parking requirements where mass transit is available or enforceable shared parking arrangements are made.
Washington D.C’s Metro system not only reduces demand for parking and highways, but also provides a more pleasant alternative for the daily commute.
PRINCIPLE NO. 8 Reduce Parking Lot Imperviousness
Reduce the impervious cover of parking lots by providing compact car spaces, minimizing stall dimensions, incorporating efficient parking lanes, and using pervious materials in spillover parking areas.
Communities seldom allow smaller parking spaces that can handle compact cars, despite the fact that these smaller cars comprise 40 to 50% of all cars on the road.
Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection