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Urban
           Street
           Design
           Guide




OVERVIEW            OCTOBER 2012
New Orleans, LA
National Association of
                                 City Transportation Officials
                                          55 Water St., Floor 9
                                          New York, NY 10041

                                               www.nacto.org
                                             nacto@nacto.org
                                                 212.839.6421




     Contents
4    Foreword
 5   Urban Street Design Guide Outline
6    Five Principles of Urban Street Design
8    Streets and Intersections
10   	     Very Large Streets
12   	     Transit Streets
14   	     Medium Streets
16   	     Act Now!
18   	     Very Small Streets
20   	     Alleys & Passageways
22   Critical Issues
24   	     Speed and Safety
26   	     Design vs. Target Speed	
28   Treatments & Elements
30   	     Moving the Curb
32   	     Low-Impact Design
34   	     Parklets, Pop-ups and Street Seats
35   Acknowledgments




                 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview         3
Foreword

    Designing Streets as Public Spaces




    New York, NY


    The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide charts the design principles and strategies that
    cities are adopting to confront 21st Century demands on their streets. It is based on the
    fundamental idea that streets are spaces for people as well as arteries for traffic. The guide
    is rooted in on-the-ground, built projects and great streets, and reflects international best
    practices and research in urban design, planning and engineering.
    Many large cities across the United States have already changed the way they build streets.
    Roadways once conceived singularly as arterials for traffic have been recast and retrofitted
    as public spaces crucial to the economic success, safety and vitality of the city. Sidewalks
    are expanding to provide space for children playing, strollers, a growing population of older
    people and people of all ages just out for a walk. City transportation departments are mak-
    ing space for bicycles and transit in the street, whether through bike paths, light-rail corri-
    dors or bus rapid transit.
    These innovations are at the center of improvements for urban roadways in the US, but they
    are still often treated as marginal or exceptional by other national design guides. This guide
    will fill that gap and give cities the tools they need as they strive to make the most of their
    streets.

    						




                                  Janette Sadik-Khan			
                                  NACTO President			
                                  Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation



4   NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
What’s to Come
The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide has been orga-         Street network design principles will be discussed
nized to analyze the street from multiple perspectives,    mainly as they relate to the design of individual cor-
from the bird’s eye view to the granular details. This     ridors. Materials, lighting and street furniture are de-
overview is the first product in the development of a      emphasized here due to their inherently local charac-
design guide for urban streets. The chapters highlight-    ter and application.
ed here illustrate some of the greatest street design
practices around the country and synthesize these          The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide is slated for
national efforts.                                          release in Summer 2013.




Outline for the 2013 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide

Items highlighted in bold are discussed in this overview.

Streets and Intersections             Critical Issues                          Treatments & Elements
 §§ Very Large Streets                  §§ Speed and Safety                     §§ Parklets, Pop-ups & Street
                                                                                   Seats
 §§ Large Streets                       §§ Design vs. Target Speed
                                                                                §§ Low Impact Design
 §§ Medium Streets                      §§ Corner Design and Turning
                                           Radii                                §§ Moving the Curb
 §§ Small Street
                                        §§ Lane Width                           §§ Bus Stops
 §§ Very Small Streets
                                        §§ Transit Lanes                        §§ Stormwater Management
 §§ Alleys and Passageways
                                        §§ Crosswalks and Crossings             §§ Parking
 §§ Pedestrian Streets
                                        §§ Level of Service                     §§ Sidewalk Configurations
 §§ Shared Streets and Home
    Zones                               §§ Curbside Management

 §§ Transit Streets                     §§ Design and Control Vehicle

 §§ Complex Intersections               §§ Functional Classification

 §§ Compact Intersections               §§ One-way vs. Two-way

 §§ Reorganizing Intersections          §§ Traffic Control Devices

 §§ Multi-leg Intersections             §§ Visibility and Sightlines

 §§ Public Plazas                       §§ Clear Zones

                                        §§ Access Management

                                        §§ Driveways



                                                                NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview              5
Five Principles of Urban Street Design


     Designing world-class streets begins with a restatement of the problem
     and the means by which to understand that problem. These five principles
     establish a clear understanding of the primary goals, ideals and tenets of
     world-class street design.




     Streets are Public Spaces
     Streets are often the most vital, yet underutilized
     public spaces in cities. Conventional highway design
     standards tend to look at streets as thoroughfares
     for traffic and measure their performance in terms
     of speed, delay, throughput and congestion. In real-
     ity, streets play a much larger role in the public life of
     cities and communities and should be designed to
     include public spaces as well as channels for move-
     ment.                                                         Washington, DC




                                                                  Great Streets are Great for Business
                                                                  Cities have realized that streets are an economic as-
                                                                  set as much as a functional element. Well-designed
                                                                  streets generate higher revenues for businesses and
                                                                  higher values for homeowners.




      Santa Barbara, CA




6    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Design for Safety
In 2010, 32,885 people were killed in traffic crashes,
which are also the leading cause of death among
children aged 5 to 14. These deaths and hundreds of
thousands of injuries are avoidable. Traffic engineers
can and should do better, by designing streets where
people walking, parking, shopping, bicycling, working
and driving can cross paths safely.

                                                           Safety campaign in New York City




                                                           Streets can be Changed
                                                           Transportation engineers can work flexibly within the
                                                           building envelope of a street. This includes moving
                                                           curbs, changing alignments, daylighting corners and
                                                           redirecting traffic where necessary. Many city streets
                                                           were created in a different era and need to be recon-
                                                           figured to meet new needs. Street space can also be
                                                           reused for different purposes, such as parklets, bicycle
                                                           parking and pop-up cafes.
 New York, NY




Act Now!
Implementing projects quickly using temporary mate-
rials helps inform public decision making. Cities across
the US have begun using a stepped approach to major
redesigns, where temporary materials are used in the
short term, to be replaced by permanent materials
after the public has tested the design thoroughly.


                                                            Brooklyn, NY




                                                                NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview              7
STREETS & INTERSECTIONS


    Conventional street design has historically favored the function of movement
    over that of place. The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide considers street
    design as a balance of these two needs and safety as the driving parameter in
    design.
    The Guide uses street width and dimension as a primary point of departure.
    Width is a limiting factor in design when considering the re-organization of a
    given corridor. The guide has been organized accordingly, ranging from Very
    Large Streets to Very Small Streets.
    This organization deviates from conventional practice, which is limited by
    functional classification or an alternative classification scheme, usually
    based on context. Many local jurisdictions have established their own classi-
    fication criteria. Using width as opposed to type or class allows for the street
    to be analyzed foremost as a container and a public space, with context, land
    use and traffic as forces that together shape that space. In select cases, the
    Guide will highlight special streets, such as shared streets and transit streets,
    which focus on specific street users and contexts.
    The Intersections portion of the Guide will highlight both spatial and tem-
    poral design strategies, focusing on how cities can make junctions safer for
    everyone using the street.




8   NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Streets
Streets are critical arteries for transporting goods and
people, but they are also the places where we live,
work, play and interact. The design and management
of an urban street must reflect and accommodate
these diverse and competing uses. The layout and op-
eration of streets can prioritize and enhance particular
uses for the benefit of all.

This chapter presents streets by width, from wide to
narrow. It illustrates innovative designs that meet
the varying and changing needs of urban streets. This
includes:

 §§ Fundamental safety and operational strategies

 §§ The spatial qualities of the street, from building
    line to building line

 §§ The relationship between land use and traffic

 §§ Management strategies for parking and other
    curbside uses

 §§ Flexibility of street use during the course of a day,
    week or year                                               Los Angeles, CA


Intersections
An intersection is any place where different users mix
and compete for time within the same space. Inter-
sections take many forms and shapes, ranging from
complex junctions to driveways to the meeting of
two paths. They are often defined by their layout and
operations: traffic signals, roundabouts, T-junctions.
Simplicity, compactness, low speed and eye contact
are favored in intersection design.

This chapter presents intersections as extensions of
streets. It illustrates possibilities to safely, efficiently
and effectively manage urban intersections. These
areas include:

 §§ Major nodes and meeting points

 §§ Principles of layout, design and operations

 §§ Opportunities for public space

                                                               San Francisco, CA
Very Large Streets


      Very large streets support diverse uses, spaces and     Example: Octavia Boulevard
      traffic streams, yet also produce large, complex
      intersections that present unique operational chal-     This section is based on Octavia Boulevard in San
      lenges. For most cities, their very large streets are   Francisco. Octavia Boulevard was redesigned as a
      also some of their most well-known, and are critical    multi-way boulevard following the removal of a major
      to presenting a modern livable city to visitors.        highway. Though only a few blocks long, it doubles as
                                                              an important neighborhood entry point and as a thor-
                                                              oughfare that carries heavy loads of traffic to other
                                                              parts of the city.




       1
       §§ Trees are spaced to have
          touching crowns which                                                         1
          forms almost an un-
          broken canopy parallel
          to the street. They are
          planted right up to the
          intersections to break
          down the overall scale
          of the street.                                             3

                                                                                                      4




      2§§ There are two scales of
          light fixtures, signage                  12’            18.5’            9’          11’         11’           10’
          and other elements–
          larger in the center and              Side Walk         Local          Median      Travel       Travel       Median
                                                                  Access                      Lane         Lane
          smaller on the sides.
                                                                   Lane
                                                                                                                         211’

                                                                                                                      Right-of-Way
10    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
3 § The width of the local access
                                                                               §
                                                                                  lanes is as narrow as possible.
                                                                                  Emergency vehicle access
                                                                                  is accommodated through
                                                                                  mountable curbs on the side
                                                                                  median.

          New York, NY

         Very Large Streets have the possibility for transit lanes, cycle
         tracks and jogging paths. Tree-lined medians can separate traffic
         streams and create spaces for pedestrian activity and recreation.




                                                                              4 § All three medians provide
                                                                               §
                                                                                  refuge for pedestrians crossing
                                                                                  the street.




                                                                              5 § Tree-lined sidewalks provide
                                                                               §
                                                                                  access to outdoor space for
                                                                                  active first-floor uses and
                                                                                  other pedestrian activities.

         2

                                     5




                                                                             The center roadway is signalized,
 11’          11’          9’            18.5’            12’                while the side roadways are stop-
                                                                             controlled. Drivers on local ac-
Travel       Travel      Median        Local           Side Walk
 Lane         Lane                     Access                                cess lanes are allowed to make all
                                        Lane                                 movements.


                           Octavia Boulevard, San Francisco, CA

                                                                       NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview     11
Transit Streets

      Transit streets prioritize transit over general traffic,                  Bus Rapid Transit
      provide safe places for people to walk and access
      the stops and form the backbone of a larger local                         From a street-management perspective, a Bus Rapid
      public transit network. Transit Streets are designed                      Transit route is a transit street that prioritizes bus
      to make transit work better for everyone. Whether                         travel through dedicated running ways, traffic signal
      bus rapid transit, light-rail transit, streetcar, or the                  pre-emption (“green wave”) and off-board fare col-
      local bus, for transit to live up to its billing, it should               lection. The street is organized similarly to a light rail
      not be stuck in traffic.                                                  corridor, in that dedicated right-of-way is bounded by
                                                                                safe and accessible stations. However, using buses as
                                                                                the transit vehicle provides greater routing flexibility
                                                                                and allows cities to use technology in coordination
                                                                                with geometry to speed transit riders towards their
                                                                                destinations.

                                                                                In the US, current practice ranges from fully separated
                                                                                transit lanes, with passing lanes and pre-paid board-
                                                                                ing stations, to bus bulbs and signal pre-emption.
                                                                    Beyond DC




                                                                                                                                             Metro


       Pittsburgh, PA                                                            Los Angeles, CA

      Pittsburgh Busway                                                         Los Angeles Orange Line
      Pittsburgh’s Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway was                      This 14-mile route opened in 2005 and operates in a
      the first BRT-style system in the country, opening in                     former rail alignment. This system closely mimics rail
      1983. The city now has four busways, mostly located                       service, with stations located on platforms with off-
      on former rail rights-of-way and completely separated                     board fare collection. The project included a signifi-
      from other vehicle traffic.                                               cant upgrade to the traffic signal coordination along
                                                                                the route, which is controlled remotely to maximize
                                                                                on-time performance.




12    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Best practices: Bus Rapid Transit

                                                            Select Bus Service has now been deployed along four
                                                            corridors in New York City, with more in final design
                                                            and planning. The system on each corridor features
                                                            branded vehicles, red painted bus-only lanes, tran-
                                                            sit signal priority and pre-payment of fares to speed
                                                            boarding times. To create a safe place to board, the
                                                            buses run along the existing curb lane or on an offset
                                                            lane with bus bulbs. Offset lanes preserve the curb
                                                            lane for parking and loading in commercial districts.
                                                            Cameras are used to enforce the bus lanes from en-
 New York, NY                                               croaching traffic.

                                                            New York City’s first Select Bus Service corridor,
New York City Select Bus Service
                                                            Fordham Road in the Bronx, was launched in 2008.
In New York City, traffic and transit planners have         The treatment showed an immediate improvement
combined forces to use a range of improvements in           in travel times of 19% and a 32% increase in weekday
vehicles, ticketing, traffic signals and street layout      ridership over the limited service it replaced. 98% of
to create Select Bus Service corridors. Each project        customers reported being “satisfied” or “very satis-
is tailored to the space available and existing traffic     fied” with the new service.
patterns, all in the interest of providing a faster, more
pleasant experience for bus riders.




 Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Health Line
The Health Line runs along a 6.8-mile route on Euclid
Avenue, connecting two of the city’s major employers
with the downtown area. To improve speed and on-
time performance, the buses are given fully dedicated
right-of-way with central, high-level stations and next
bus arrival boards. Since its opening in 2008, an esti-
mated $4.2 billion in new real estate development has
                                                             Cleveland, OH
occurred along the corridor.




                                                                 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview            13
Medium Streets

      Neighborhood commercial streets, residential               Over the course of the 20th Century, the roadways
      avenues and thoroughfares are magnets for neigh-           of many of these medium-sized streets in neighbor-
      borhood life and often medium-sized relative to            hoods were widened in an attempt to accommodate
      other streets in the city. Medium-sized streets that       more auto traffic. Sidewalks were narrowed, trees
      traverse the center of a neighborhood should be            removed, on-street parking restricted and signals
      easy to cross for pedestrians and vehicles alike,          coordinated to process more cars. Cities are now
      promoting the free flow of people between home,            retrofitting these streets to support new develop-
      stores, offices and schools.                               ment and to reinforce their neighborhood scale.




                                                                                                             5

      •	1   The previous 4-lane
            layout was recon-
            figured as 3 lanes,
            including a turn lane.
            This reduces weav-
            ing movements and
            self-moderates auto                                                                        1     4
            speeds.




                                                               20’                   9’         5’         10’          10’
        2§ Bike lanes were in-
        §
           stalled and the parking                           Side Walk          Parking Lane   Bike   Moving Lane   Center Median
                                                                                               Lane                    with 10’
           lane widened. This
                                                                                                                     Turning Lane
           provides enough space
           for cyclists to ride just
                                                                                                                         98’
           outside the door zone.
                                                                                                                    Right-of-Way

14    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Example: Vanderbilt Avenue
          Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, NY formerly consisted
          of four travel lanes, two in each direction, with parking
          on either side. Between double-parking and left turns,
          through travelers were running a slalom course that
          endangered everyone, from drivers and passengers
          exiting cars to pedestrians to cyclists. Speeding was
          rampant.
          The City and the community worked together to
          develop a solution. One travel lane was removed and
          one was converted to a center turn lane. The remain-
          ing space won through the road diet was given over to
          wider parking areas and bicycle lanes on either side.
          Planted medians were installed to shorten the cross-
          ing distance for pedestrians.
                                                                      Brooklyn, NY
          Below is an illustration of the road diet on Vanderbilt
          Avenue, completed in 2009. Since implementation,
          vehicles have slowed down, cyclists increased by
          80% and injuries from traffic crashes have gone down
          significantly.




                                                                                      3§ Rush hour parking restrictions
                                                                                      §
                                                                                         were removed, providing more
                                                                                         parking for local businesses.




     3                                                                                4§ Raised medians with pedes-
                                                                                      §
                                                                                         trian refuge islands were in-
     2                                                                                   stalled wherever possible. The
                                                                                         one-way side streets facilitate
                                                                                         this.




    10’         5’         9’                   20’
Moving Lane   Bike    Parking Lane           Side Walk                                5§ Trees were planted on the
                                                                                      §
              Lane                                                                       median to visually narrow the
                                                                                         roadway for drivers and beau-
                                                                                         tify the street.


                             Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

                                                                          NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview         15
Act Now!


      The use of temporary materials in street design has    §§ Health & Safety – a quick turnaround project can
      expanded in recent years as cities work to remake         immediately address unsafe conditions on streets
      their streets using low-cost and innovative meth-         and at intersections.
      ods. Short-term improvements allow residents and
                                                             §§ Low-cost - materials like paint, glue, or gravel are
      visitors to experience new street configurations
                                                                inexpensive compared to asphalt and cement
      without the commitment of major funding for new
                                                                curbs.
      curbs and other capital improvements. This method
      has many advantages:                                   §§ Changeable - if a pilot project has negative im-
                                                                pacts on parking or traffic patterns, it is easy to
       §§ Neighborhood Aesthetics – designs for tempo-
                                                                restore the roadway to its original condition.
          rary treatments can be selected together with
          local merchants and neighborhood organizations,
          and they can be involved in planting flowers and
          other ongoing activities.




                                                                                                                       University City District




      Philadelphia, PA




16    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Best Practice: New York City Public Spaces

The New York City DOT uses temporary materials to          seating and striping provide a low-cost toolkit for
activate public spaces and create better bikeways          delineating these spaces and help to realize public
throughout the city. Planters, bollards, epoxied gravel,   support for full-scale capital implementation.




Before                                                     After                                     Union Square




Before                                                     After                                  Gansevoort Plaza




Before                                                     After                                       Allen Street




                                                                   NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview           17
Very Small Streets



      Very small streets, less than 40 feet in width be-
      tween buildings, are as much a part of a city’s street
      network as larger streets. While they may not carry
      heavy loads of through traffic, they provide access
      to properties and are often integral parts of the
      non-motorized street network. Many cities have
      made them pedestrian-only, removed curbs, or cre-
      ated shared spaces for people walking, driving and
      cycling.



                                                                  Santa Monica, CA
                                                                 Before

      Example: Longfellow Shared Street
      The cross-section on page 19 diagrams Longfellow
      Street, a curbless “shared” residential street in the
      Borderline neighborhood of Santa Monica, CA.

      Longfellow Street was one of the first shared streets
      in the United States. It codified and set a precedent in
      the US for what is known as a woonerf in the Neth-
      erlands, a Verkehrsberuhigungzone in Germany and a
      “home zone” in the United Kingdom.

      Previous attempts at establishing shared streets had
      limited success. Politicians often view low speed           Santa Monica, CA
      zones as speed traps. Without sidewalks, a system          After
      must be developed to guide those with limited sight
      and ensure that drivers yield to other street users.

      The success of Longfellow Street is owed in large part     car parking and two-way traffic. In creating a legally
      to the residents and the city. The two collaborated        “shared” space, the city paid particular attention to
      to develop a “shared” space design for pedestrians,        accessibility concerns and signage.




18    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
§
      §1    14-foot wide shared roadway            2 § 10 mph “warning” speed limit
                                                    §                                         3 § Stormwater is infiltrated
                                                                                               §
                                                       and “shared street” signs                  through the use of permeable
                                                                                                  paving systems, landscape
                                                                                                  planters and other purposely
                                                                                                  located pervious surfaces.




                                                                  1
                                                                                               2
                                                                                               3
               Single Family
                  Home                                                                                         Private Garage




            Planting                                                                                                    Planting
                                4’            8’                                         8’          4’
             Strip                                                                                                       Strip
           (beyond) Parallel                                                                                  Parallel (beyond)
                      Parking                                                                                 Parking
                     (beyond)           12’                       14’                     13’                (beyond)
                                     Pathway to              Shared Space          Head-In Parking
                                     Residence
                                                                   39’
                                                              Right-of-Way
                                                                                        Longfellow Street, Santa Monica, CA




10’                                                    Longfellow Street
      Solar-powered lights                                         Shared Street
                                                                             Wheelchair-accessible mini-curbs
                                                   Speed tables at each of the inter-
                                                   sections                                guide pedestrians with limited
                                                                                           sight. The “roadway” is considered
                                                                                           the accessible route.




                                                                            NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview               19
Alleys & Passageways


      Alleys present cities with special challenges, but
      also opportunities. Typically built without standard
      street drainage, they tend to flood and many have
      never been significantly improved since the neigh-
      borhood was built. Today, cities around the US are
      realizing that alleys can be turned into community
      space and improved using green design.




       Bardstown, KY                                         Fort Worth, TX




       New Orleans, LA                                       San Francisco, CA



20    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Best Practices: Green Alleys

Chicago: Green Alleys                                                                   Baltimore: Alley Gating and Greening Program
Chicago DOT spearheaded a “green alleys” program                                        Administered by the non-profit Community Greens,
in 2006 to improve stormwater management without                                        the Baltimore alley program began in the early 2000s
new storm drains, reduce the heat island effect and                                     when a group of neighbors sought to close their
increase the use of recycled materials. The program                                     network of alleys, which were overrun with crime and
began with materials research, six pilot projects and                                   trash. After encountering legal resistance, the group
the creation of the Green Alley Handbook. This hand-                                    formed a coalition and drafted an ordinance that
book was a valuable tool used to educate the com-                                       would allow alleys to be gated, which was passed in
munity. After the pilots were installed, the program                                    2007.
expanded to 32 alleys and is now a line item in the
                                                                                        Gated alleys are subject to the following regulations:
city’s annual budget. Funding comes from the local
alderman’s budget for capital improvements and from                                         •	   The community leases the alley from the city,
discretionary funds.                                                                             without the need for an easement.

                                                                                            •	   The city has the right to re-open th alley to the
                                                                                                 public.

                                                                                            •	   So as not to constitute a taking, 100% of resi-
                                                                                                 dents must agree to its closure.

                                                                                            •	   Residents are responsible for maintenance.

Before
                                                         Chicago Green Alley Handbook




                                                                                                                                                     Metropolis
 Chicago, IL                                                                             Baltimore, MD

After

Detroit: Green Alleys
Green Garage, a community-based business enter-
prise center in Midtown Detroit, began working with
local businesses in 2008 to renovate a trash-strewn
alley in the middle of the neighborhood. Together
with Wayne State University, the group was able to
completely renovate the alleyway, installing gardens,
permeable pavers and bollards to keep out through
traffic. The renovated alley has become a vibrant gre-
                                                                                                                                                        Green Garage




enway between buildings.
                                                                                         Detroit, MI




                                                                                             NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview                                  21
CRITICAL ISSUES


     Streets and sidewalks are shaped by many variables–some visible and some
     not. While a new bike or bus lane tangibly alters the right-of-way, factors like
     signal timing, functional classification and level-of-service constitute only a
     small selection of the many invisible parameters that influence a street’s de-
     sign and operation. Left unaddressed, these critical issues can prevent streets
     from serving the needs of adjacent residents and businesses.
     A growing number of cities have overcome these obstacles and are improv-
     ing their streets. An emerging catalogue of best practices, supported by a
     new body of research, is setting a better standard for city street design. The
     Critical Issues section will help practitioners and decision-makers alike com-
     prehend how to best integrate city traffic engineering principles into street
     designs that balance the needs of residents with the realities of traffic.




22   NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
New York, NY
Speed and Safety



      Vehicle speed plays a critical role in the cause and                          Higher speeds =
      severity of crashes. Lowering the frequency of in-
      juries and fatalities remains a crucial public health
                                                                                    Higher crash risk and severity
      goal for our cities. This section documents the rela-
      tionship between speed and safety, looking at how                             There is a direct correlation between vehicle speed,
      appropriate street design can make our cities safer.                          crashes and severity thereof.


                                                                                    Mass
                                       Risk of Pedestrian Fatality
                                                                                    The difference in mass between the two colliding
                        100                                                         bodies means the lighter of the two will bear the most
                         80                                                         severe injury.
      Percent




                         60

                         40

                         20

                          0
                                  20              30             40           50
                                                 Vehicle Speed (MPH)


                                                                                       Bus                Car          Cyclist/Pedestrian
                                                                                    24,000 lbs         2,000 lbs          30 - 250 lbs


      Reaction and Stopping Distance                                                Proactive Design
      The amount of distance a driver takes to react and                            Conventional street design is founded in highway
      come to a stop increases with increasing speeds.                              design principles that favor wide, straight, flat and
                                                                                    open roads with clear zones that forgive and account
                               Reaction & Stopping Distance vs. Speed               for inevitable driver error. This is defined as “passive”
                        350                                                         design.
                                                                              301
                        300
      Distance (Feet)




                                                                       246          In recent years a new paradigm has emerged for urban
                        250
                        200                                  197                    streets called proactive design. A proactive approach
                                                      152
                         150
                                           112
                                                                                    uses design elements to affect behavior and to lower
                        100       77                                                speeds. Embracing proactive design may be the single
                          50
                           0
                                                                                    most consequential intervention in reducing pedes-
                                  15       20         25      30       35     40
                                                 Vehicle Speed (MPH)
                                                                                    trian injury and fatality. Since human error is inevitable,
                                                                                    reducing the consequences of any given error or lapse
                                  Reaction Distance            Stopping Distance
                                                                                    of attention is critical. Cities around the country that
                                                                                    have implemented measures to reduce and stabilize
                                                                                    speed have shown a reduction in serious injuries and
                                                                                    deaths for everyone on the road, from drivers to pas-
                                                                                    sengers to pedestrians.



24    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Vision Cone
A driver’s visual focus diminishes as speed increases.




 Ridgewood, NJ




15 mph




20 mph




25 mph




30 mph



                                                         NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview   25
Design Speed vs. Target Speed


      Design Speed                                               Consequences
      The concept of design speed was originally defined in      Current practices accommodate and even encourage
      1936 as “the maximum approximately uniform speed           speeding by designing streets where drivers may travel
      which [can] probably be adopted by the faster group        faster than the intended speed limit. By applying rural
      of drivers, once clear of urban areas.” The definition     and suburban design practices to urban streets, agen-
      has since evolved, and it is now used to select various    cies are actually creating streets that become danger-
      geometric features of a roadway.                           ous to pedestrians and bicyclists. In basing the posted
      Except in urban areas with hilly topography, design        speed limit on the 85th percentile, agencies allow
      speed is not a major factor in urban street design,        speeds to be normalized based upon how fast drivers
      although it may be included in street design guide-        are actually driving, rather than establishing the speed
      lines. For example, many highway design manuals            at which drivers and other road users will be safest.
      stipulate that the design speed be based primarily         Higher design speeds are deleterious to urban envi-
      upon a street’s functional classification, irrespective    ronments in mandating larger curb radii, wider traffic
      of context. Many manuals also suggest that design          lanes, streets without on-street parking, guardrails,
      speed should be 5 to 10 mph above posted speed. The        and clear zones. Accommodating higher speeds also
      general premise draws on the principle that roads de-      takes up valuable land. By designing for a faster set
      signed for heavy traffic, such as arterials, should have   of drivers, crashes increase due to the differential in
      higher desirable and actual design speeds.                 speeds between those traveling at the design speed
                                                                 versus the posted speed.
      Operating Speed
      The operating speed is the speed at which the major-       Recommendation
      ity of traffic on a given roadway operates. Operating
      speed is often defined as the 85th percentile vehicle
                                                                 Target Speed = Design Speed =
      speed.                                                     Posted Speed
      Posted Speed                                               Design using target speeds–the speed you intend for
      The posted speed is based upon the operating speed         drivers to go–rather than operating speed, the speed
      and local laws. In many circumstances, when routine        at which drivers are going. Target speeds may fall
      speed checks are conducted, if the 85th percentile         between 15-30 mph on general streets, while alleys,
      speed has increased since the last test, the posted        shared spaces and pedestrian priority streets may be
      speed will in turn be raised.                              assigned target speeds as low as 10 mph. Many of the
                                                                 elements of great urban streets may then be incorpo-
                                                                 rated into these lower speed streets, using benches,
                                                                 narrow lanes, trees, on-street parking, or small curb
                                                                 radii, which create a virtuous cycle that naturally en-
                                                                 courages slower speeds.




26    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Speed Control Mechanisms

 §§ Signals – signals can be timed to manage ve-                     lane may be 11 feet wide.
    hicle speeds or to prioritize other user groups like
                                                                  §§ Trees and landscaping – trees narrow a driver’s
    cyclists.
                                                                     field of vision and encourage slower driving.
 §§ On-street parking and bike lanes – make drivers
                                                                  §§ Medians and curb extensions – narrow pedes-
    aware of the presence of cyclists and entering/
                                                                     trian crossing distances help to manage driver be-
    exiting vehicles.
                                                                     havior and mutually improve drivers’ and pedestri-
 §§ Lane width – research shows that reducing lane                   ans’ visibility of one another.
    widths does not increase the frequency of crash-
                                                                  §§ Traffic calming devices – speed tables, speed
    es, even on suburban arterials. On urban streets,
                                                                     humps and other tools that physically control
    the impact of driver error is greater, creating even
                                                                     speeds make it difficult to drive above the recom-
    more of an imperative to manage speed. 10-foot
                                                                     mended speed.
    wide lanes are of sufficient width for target speeds
    of 40 mph or less. On bus and truck routes, one




 Portland, OR                                                     New Orleans, LA
The cycle track, on-street parking and trees along this street   Trees and narrow street width encourage slower vehicle
help reduce vehicle speed.                                       speeds.




 Chicago, IL                                                      Plainfield, IL

A mini traffic circle reduces speeding through this intersec-    Curb extensions force motorists to make slower turns and
tion.                                                            reduce the pedestrian crossing distance at this intersection.




                                                                       NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview                  27
TREATMENTS & ELEMENTS


     Public spaces, streets and sidewalks are often limited by their preexisting ge-
     ometries and adjacent land uses. Despite these constraints, cities today have
     access to a growing toolbox of treatments and elements to activate their
     rights-of-way. From curbside public seating to green infrastructure and pe-
     destrian safety improvements, an array of new design strategies are helping
     cities carve vibrant public spaces out of underutilized roadbeds. This section
     investigates these innovations as part of a flexible approach to street design
     and safety, focusing in particular on the curbside as a malleable space bridg-
     ing the sidewalk and the street.


     .




28   NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Philadelphia , PA
Credit: University City District
Moving the Curb


      Originally designed to capture stormwater and lead      The Guide looks at the curbside as a flexible space
      it to catch basins, curbs mark the traditional divid-   that bridges and negotiates the street and the side-
      ing line between motorized and non-motorized            walk. Cafe seating for adjacent businesses can replace
      space on the street. On-street parking reinforces       curbside parking spaces. Bioswales and landscaping
      this division and serves as a physical boundary be-     near the intersection can improve a street’s ecological
      tween the sidewalk and the street. Today, as cities     performance, while simultaneously calming traf-
      reinvest in their streets as public spaces, curbside    fic. The curb can host temporary uses and activities,
      uses are beginning to change and evolve.                such as food trucks and vendors, or low-cost safety
                                                              improvements that shorten pedestrian crossings at in-
                                                              tersections. Cycle tracks and interim sidewalk widen-
                                                              ing, meanwhile, officially extend the curb line and shift
                                                              parking into a floating lane.

                                                              The images on pages 30-31 present a few of the
                                                              emerging curbside uses being embraced by US Cities.




      Bike Corrals                                            Public Space




       San Francisco, CA                                       New York, NY




30    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Pop-up Cafes           Food Trucks




                       Make a new curb:




Long Beach, CA         Washington, DC
                 CNU




Bioswales              Parking Lane Materials




                       St. Paul, MN


                       Landscaping & Traffic Calming
                                                                      Beth Fertig




Portland, OR           Santa Fe, NM




                           NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview                 31
Low Impact Design



      Low impact design (LID) refers to efforts to manage
      stormwater at the source, as opposed to directing it
      into the sewer system. LIDs are increasingly important
      as cities deal with climate change, water pollution and
      outdated infrastructure. In some circumstances, they
      can reduce long-term construction and maintenance
      costs, alleviate hazards from flooding and provide op-
      portunities for innovative design. The latter is espe-
      cially important as cities grapple with wide expanses
      of impermeable surfaces causing stormwater runoff.
                                                                San Francisco, CA
      Where a given street falls within its particular water-
      shed dictates LID usage. Almost every street has a
      running slope: the higher portion deals with falling
      rain, while the lower portion handles rain and runoff.
      This begins to suggest design solutions reflective of
      local topography. Climates with more rainfall can sup-
      port lush plantings, while more arid climates require
      systems that can remain dry for long periods.

      Benefits
       §§ Delineates no parking zones through enhanced
          vegetation

       §§ Landscapes and beautifies the street                  Portland, OR

       §§ Diminishes pedestrian crossing distances when
          located in medians or bulb-outs

       §§ Reduces “ponding” at pedestrian ramps

      More Than Just Rain Gardens
       §§ Calms traffic as drivers move slower past trees
          and landscaping

       §§ Provides rationale for narrowing street widths

       §§ Acts as a buffer between traffic and the pedes-
          trian realm



                                                                Port Townsend, WA




32    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
Seattle, WA
Parklets, Pop-ups & Street Seats

      Parklets, pop-ups and street seats transform one
      to two parking spaces into 200-400 square feet of
      public space. These treatments may be temporary
      or permanent. Parklet programs are on the rise all
      across the country, as cities rethink how to best uti-
      lize these public amenities.

      The following criteria are used in the design and place-
      ment of parklets, pop-up cafes and street seats:

      Location
       §§ Lack of public space in the surrounding area

       §§ Surrounding land uses that can attract people

       §§ Identified community or business steward

       §§ Pre-existing community support

       §§ Not immediately adjacent to the corner                  New York, NY

       §§ Not blocking a fire hydrant or bus stop

      Design
       §§ Materials that can stand up to impacts, resist
          scratches and not degrade under constant UV and
          moisture exposure




                                                                                      University City District District
       §§ Protection from traffic while allowing for visibility
          via wheel stops, flexible bollards, street markings
          and railing edges

       §§ Curbside drainage not impeded                           Philadelphia, PA



      A business owner, community benefit district, non-
      profit or resident, is typically responsible for the con-
      struction costs, maintenance and liability insurance for
      the parklet. Permits are renewed annually.




                                                                  San Francisco, CA




34    NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
National Association of
                                                                              City Transportation Officials
                                                                                       55 Water St., Floor 9
                                                                                       New York, NY 10041

                                                                                             www.nacto.org
                                                                                           nacto@nacto.org
                                                                                               212.839.6421




Acknowledgments
                                                      Thank You to Our Funders and Sponsors
NACTO would like to thank the following individu-
als for their hard work and dedication to the Urban   NACTO extends its deep appreciation to the fol-
Street Design Guide project and for their contribu-   lowing institutions for their generous support of
tion to this Overview.                                the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview:

Lead Project Staff                                    Foundation
                                                      The Rockefeller Foundation
Linda Bailey, Federal Programs Advisor, New York
City Department of Transportation                     Surdna Foundation
David Vega-Barachowitz, Sustainable Initiatives
Program Manager, NACTO
                                                      Corporate
                                                      Parsons Brinckerhoff
NelsonNygaard Associates                             STV Group

Michael King, Rick Chellman, Stephanie Wright,        IBM
Paul Supawanich                                       Verizon
                                                      HAKS
Community Design + Architecture                       Car2go
Thomas Kronemeyer, Jonah Chiarenza


NACTO
President		                   Janette Sadik-Khan
Executive Director		                  Ron Thaniel
	
Board                                                 Advisory Committee
Atlanta                          Richard Mendoza      Michele Wynn
Baltimore                             Khalil Zaied    Theo Ngongang
Boston                                  Tom Tinlin    Vineet Gupta
Chicago                                Gabe Klein     Nathan Rosenberry, David Seglin, Chris Wuellner
Detroit                              Ron Freeland     Triette Reeves
Houston                       Jeffrey Weatherford     Jeffrey Weatherford
Los Angeles                      Jaime de la Vega     Jay Kim
Minneapolis                            Jon Wertjes    Don Elwood
New York                      Janette Sadik-Khan      Linda Bailey, Mike Flynn, Nicholaas Peterson
Philadelphia                           Rina Cutler    Ariel Ben-Amos, Stephen Buckley
Phoenix                              Wylie Bearup     Shane Silsby
Portland                              Sam Adams       Peter Koonce, Kurt Kreuger
San Francisco                      Edward Reiskin     Seleta Reynolds
Seattle                                Peter Hahn     Kevin O’Neill
Washington DC                       Terry Bellamy     Sam Zimbabwe

                                                            NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview           35
www.nacto.org

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NACTO Urban Street Design Guide

  • 1. Urban Street Design Guide OVERVIEW OCTOBER 2012
  • 3. National Association of City Transportation Officials 55 Water St., Floor 9 New York, NY 10041 www.nacto.org nacto@nacto.org 212.839.6421 Contents 4 Foreword 5 Urban Street Design Guide Outline 6 Five Principles of Urban Street Design 8 Streets and Intersections 10 Very Large Streets 12 Transit Streets 14 Medium Streets 16 Act Now! 18 Very Small Streets 20 Alleys & Passageways 22 Critical Issues 24 Speed and Safety 26 Design vs. Target Speed 28 Treatments & Elements 30 Moving the Curb 32 Low-Impact Design 34 Parklets, Pop-ups and Street Seats 35 Acknowledgments NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 3
  • 4. Foreword Designing Streets as Public Spaces New York, NY The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide charts the design principles and strategies that cities are adopting to confront 21st Century demands on their streets. It is based on the fundamental idea that streets are spaces for people as well as arteries for traffic. The guide is rooted in on-the-ground, built projects and great streets, and reflects international best practices and research in urban design, planning and engineering. Many large cities across the United States have already changed the way they build streets. Roadways once conceived singularly as arterials for traffic have been recast and retrofitted as public spaces crucial to the economic success, safety and vitality of the city. Sidewalks are expanding to provide space for children playing, strollers, a growing population of older people and people of all ages just out for a walk. City transportation departments are mak- ing space for bicycles and transit in the street, whether through bike paths, light-rail corri- dors or bus rapid transit. These innovations are at the center of improvements for urban roadways in the US, but they are still often treated as marginal or exceptional by other national design guides. This guide will fill that gap and give cities the tools they need as they strive to make the most of their streets. Janette Sadik-Khan NACTO President Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation 4 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 5. What’s to Come The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide has been orga- Street network design principles will be discussed nized to analyze the street from multiple perspectives, mainly as they relate to the design of individual cor- from the bird’s eye view to the granular details. This ridors. Materials, lighting and street furniture are de- overview is the first product in the development of a emphasized here due to their inherently local charac- design guide for urban streets. The chapters highlight- ter and application. ed here illustrate some of the greatest street design practices around the country and synthesize these The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide is slated for national efforts. release in Summer 2013. Outline for the 2013 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Items highlighted in bold are discussed in this overview. Streets and Intersections Critical Issues Treatments & Elements §§ Very Large Streets §§ Speed and Safety §§ Parklets, Pop-ups & Street Seats §§ Large Streets §§ Design vs. Target Speed §§ Low Impact Design §§ Medium Streets §§ Corner Design and Turning Radii §§ Moving the Curb §§ Small Street §§ Lane Width §§ Bus Stops §§ Very Small Streets §§ Transit Lanes §§ Stormwater Management §§ Alleys and Passageways §§ Crosswalks and Crossings §§ Parking §§ Pedestrian Streets §§ Level of Service §§ Sidewalk Configurations §§ Shared Streets and Home Zones §§ Curbside Management §§ Transit Streets §§ Design and Control Vehicle §§ Complex Intersections §§ Functional Classification §§ Compact Intersections §§ One-way vs. Two-way §§ Reorganizing Intersections §§ Traffic Control Devices §§ Multi-leg Intersections §§ Visibility and Sightlines §§ Public Plazas §§ Clear Zones §§ Access Management §§ Driveways NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 5
  • 6. Five Principles of Urban Street Design Designing world-class streets begins with a restatement of the problem and the means by which to understand that problem. These five principles establish a clear understanding of the primary goals, ideals and tenets of world-class street design. Streets are Public Spaces Streets are often the most vital, yet underutilized public spaces in cities. Conventional highway design standards tend to look at streets as thoroughfares for traffic and measure their performance in terms of speed, delay, throughput and congestion. In real- ity, streets play a much larger role in the public life of cities and communities and should be designed to include public spaces as well as channels for move- ment. Washington, DC Great Streets are Great for Business Cities have realized that streets are an economic as- set as much as a functional element. Well-designed streets generate higher revenues for businesses and higher values for homeowners. Santa Barbara, CA 6 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 7. Design for Safety In 2010, 32,885 people were killed in traffic crashes, which are also the leading cause of death among children aged 5 to 14. These deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries are avoidable. Traffic engineers can and should do better, by designing streets where people walking, parking, shopping, bicycling, working and driving can cross paths safely. Safety campaign in New York City Streets can be Changed Transportation engineers can work flexibly within the building envelope of a street. This includes moving curbs, changing alignments, daylighting corners and redirecting traffic where necessary. Many city streets were created in a different era and need to be recon- figured to meet new needs. Street space can also be reused for different purposes, such as parklets, bicycle parking and pop-up cafes. New York, NY Act Now! Implementing projects quickly using temporary mate- rials helps inform public decision making. Cities across the US have begun using a stepped approach to major redesigns, where temporary materials are used in the short term, to be replaced by permanent materials after the public has tested the design thoroughly. Brooklyn, NY NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 7
  • 8. STREETS & INTERSECTIONS Conventional street design has historically favored the function of movement over that of place. The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide considers street design as a balance of these two needs and safety as the driving parameter in design. The Guide uses street width and dimension as a primary point of departure. Width is a limiting factor in design when considering the re-organization of a given corridor. The guide has been organized accordingly, ranging from Very Large Streets to Very Small Streets. This organization deviates from conventional practice, which is limited by functional classification or an alternative classification scheme, usually based on context. Many local jurisdictions have established their own classi- fication criteria. Using width as opposed to type or class allows for the street to be analyzed foremost as a container and a public space, with context, land use and traffic as forces that together shape that space. In select cases, the Guide will highlight special streets, such as shared streets and transit streets, which focus on specific street users and contexts. The Intersections portion of the Guide will highlight both spatial and tem- poral design strategies, focusing on how cities can make junctions safer for everyone using the street. 8 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 9. Streets Streets are critical arteries for transporting goods and people, but they are also the places where we live, work, play and interact. The design and management of an urban street must reflect and accommodate these diverse and competing uses. The layout and op- eration of streets can prioritize and enhance particular uses for the benefit of all. This chapter presents streets by width, from wide to narrow. It illustrates innovative designs that meet the varying and changing needs of urban streets. This includes: §§ Fundamental safety and operational strategies §§ The spatial qualities of the street, from building line to building line §§ The relationship between land use and traffic §§ Management strategies for parking and other curbside uses §§ Flexibility of street use during the course of a day, week or year Los Angeles, CA Intersections An intersection is any place where different users mix and compete for time within the same space. Inter- sections take many forms and shapes, ranging from complex junctions to driveways to the meeting of two paths. They are often defined by their layout and operations: traffic signals, roundabouts, T-junctions. Simplicity, compactness, low speed and eye contact are favored in intersection design. This chapter presents intersections as extensions of streets. It illustrates possibilities to safely, efficiently and effectively manage urban intersections. These areas include: §§ Major nodes and meeting points §§ Principles of layout, design and operations §§ Opportunities for public space San Francisco, CA
  • 10. Very Large Streets Very large streets support diverse uses, spaces and Example: Octavia Boulevard traffic streams, yet also produce large, complex intersections that present unique operational chal- This section is based on Octavia Boulevard in San lenges. For most cities, their very large streets are Francisco. Octavia Boulevard was redesigned as a also some of their most well-known, and are critical multi-way boulevard following the removal of a major to presenting a modern livable city to visitors. highway. Though only a few blocks long, it doubles as an important neighborhood entry point and as a thor- oughfare that carries heavy loads of traffic to other parts of the city. 1 §§ Trees are spaced to have touching crowns which 1 forms almost an un- broken canopy parallel to the street. They are planted right up to the intersections to break down the overall scale of the street. 3 4 2§§ There are two scales of light fixtures, signage 12’ 18.5’ 9’ 11’ 11’ 10’ and other elements– larger in the center and Side Walk Local Median Travel Travel Median Access Lane Lane smaller on the sides. Lane 211’ Right-of-Way 10 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 11. 3 § The width of the local access § lanes is as narrow as possible. Emergency vehicle access is accommodated through mountable curbs on the side median. New York, NY Very Large Streets have the possibility for transit lanes, cycle tracks and jogging paths. Tree-lined medians can separate traffic streams and create spaces for pedestrian activity and recreation. 4 § All three medians provide § refuge for pedestrians crossing the street. 5 § Tree-lined sidewalks provide § access to outdoor space for active first-floor uses and other pedestrian activities. 2 5 The center roadway is signalized, 11’ 11’ 9’ 18.5’ 12’ while the side roadways are stop- controlled. Drivers on local ac- Travel Travel Median Local Side Walk Lane Lane Access cess lanes are allowed to make all Lane movements. Octavia Boulevard, San Francisco, CA NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 11
  • 12. Transit Streets Transit streets prioritize transit over general traffic, Bus Rapid Transit provide safe places for people to walk and access the stops and form the backbone of a larger local From a street-management perspective, a Bus Rapid public transit network. Transit Streets are designed Transit route is a transit street that prioritizes bus to make transit work better for everyone. Whether travel through dedicated running ways, traffic signal bus rapid transit, light-rail transit, streetcar, or the pre-emption (“green wave”) and off-board fare col- local bus, for transit to live up to its billing, it should lection. The street is organized similarly to a light rail not be stuck in traffic. corridor, in that dedicated right-of-way is bounded by safe and accessible stations. However, using buses as the transit vehicle provides greater routing flexibility and allows cities to use technology in coordination with geometry to speed transit riders towards their destinations. In the US, current practice ranges from fully separated transit lanes, with passing lanes and pre-paid board- ing stations, to bus bulbs and signal pre-emption. Beyond DC Metro Pittsburgh, PA Los Angeles, CA Pittsburgh Busway Los Angeles Orange Line Pittsburgh’s Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway was This 14-mile route opened in 2005 and operates in a the first BRT-style system in the country, opening in former rail alignment. This system closely mimics rail 1983. The city now has four busways, mostly located service, with stations located on platforms with off- on former rail rights-of-way and completely separated board fare collection. The project included a signifi- from other vehicle traffic. cant upgrade to the traffic signal coordination along the route, which is controlled remotely to maximize on-time performance. 12 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 13. Best practices: Bus Rapid Transit Select Bus Service has now been deployed along four corridors in New York City, with more in final design and planning. The system on each corridor features branded vehicles, red painted bus-only lanes, tran- sit signal priority and pre-payment of fares to speed boarding times. To create a safe place to board, the buses run along the existing curb lane or on an offset lane with bus bulbs. Offset lanes preserve the curb lane for parking and loading in commercial districts. Cameras are used to enforce the bus lanes from en- New York, NY croaching traffic. New York City’s first Select Bus Service corridor, New York City Select Bus Service Fordham Road in the Bronx, was launched in 2008. In New York City, traffic and transit planners have The treatment showed an immediate improvement combined forces to use a range of improvements in in travel times of 19% and a 32% increase in weekday vehicles, ticketing, traffic signals and street layout ridership over the limited service it replaced. 98% of to create Select Bus Service corridors. Each project customers reported being “satisfied” or “very satis- is tailored to the space available and existing traffic fied” with the new service. patterns, all in the interest of providing a faster, more pleasant experience for bus riders. Cleveland, OH Cleveland Health Line The Health Line runs along a 6.8-mile route on Euclid Avenue, connecting two of the city’s major employers with the downtown area. To improve speed and on- time performance, the buses are given fully dedicated right-of-way with central, high-level stations and next bus arrival boards. Since its opening in 2008, an esti- mated $4.2 billion in new real estate development has Cleveland, OH occurred along the corridor. NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 13
  • 14. Medium Streets Neighborhood commercial streets, residential Over the course of the 20th Century, the roadways avenues and thoroughfares are magnets for neigh- of many of these medium-sized streets in neighbor- borhood life and often medium-sized relative to hoods were widened in an attempt to accommodate other streets in the city. Medium-sized streets that more auto traffic. Sidewalks were narrowed, trees traverse the center of a neighborhood should be removed, on-street parking restricted and signals easy to cross for pedestrians and vehicles alike, coordinated to process more cars. Cities are now promoting the free flow of people between home, retrofitting these streets to support new develop- stores, offices and schools. ment and to reinforce their neighborhood scale. 5 • 1 The previous 4-lane layout was recon- figured as 3 lanes, including a turn lane. This reduces weav- ing movements and self-moderates auto 1 4 speeds. 20’ 9’ 5’ 10’ 10’ 2§ Bike lanes were in- § stalled and the parking Side Walk Parking Lane Bike Moving Lane Center Median Lane with 10’ lane widened. This Turning Lane provides enough space for cyclists to ride just 98’ outside the door zone. Right-of-Way 14 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 15. Example: Vanderbilt Avenue Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, NY formerly consisted of four travel lanes, two in each direction, with parking on either side. Between double-parking and left turns, through travelers were running a slalom course that endangered everyone, from drivers and passengers exiting cars to pedestrians to cyclists. Speeding was rampant. The City and the community worked together to develop a solution. One travel lane was removed and one was converted to a center turn lane. The remain- ing space won through the road diet was given over to wider parking areas and bicycle lanes on either side. Planted medians were installed to shorten the cross- ing distance for pedestrians. Brooklyn, NY Below is an illustration of the road diet on Vanderbilt Avenue, completed in 2009. Since implementation, vehicles have slowed down, cyclists increased by 80% and injuries from traffic crashes have gone down significantly. 3§ Rush hour parking restrictions § were removed, providing more parking for local businesses. 3 4§ Raised medians with pedes- § trian refuge islands were in- 2 stalled wherever possible. The one-way side streets facilitate this. 10’ 5’ 9’ 20’ Moving Lane Bike Parking Lane Side Walk 5§ Trees were planted on the § Lane median to visually narrow the roadway for drivers and beau- tify the street. Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 15
  • 16. Act Now! The use of temporary materials in street design has §§ Health & Safety – a quick turnaround project can expanded in recent years as cities work to remake immediately address unsafe conditions on streets their streets using low-cost and innovative meth- and at intersections. ods. Short-term improvements allow residents and §§ Low-cost - materials like paint, glue, or gravel are visitors to experience new street configurations inexpensive compared to asphalt and cement without the commitment of major funding for new curbs. curbs and other capital improvements. This method has many advantages: §§ Changeable - if a pilot project has negative im- pacts on parking or traffic patterns, it is easy to §§ Neighborhood Aesthetics – designs for tempo- restore the roadway to its original condition. rary treatments can be selected together with local merchants and neighborhood organizations, and they can be involved in planting flowers and other ongoing activities. University City District Philadelphia, PA 16 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 17. Best Practice: New York City Public Spaces The New York City DOT uses temporary materials to seating and striping provide a low-cost toolkit for activate public spaces and create better bikeways delineating these spaces and help to realize public throughout the city. Planters, bollards, epoxied gravel, support for full-scale capital implementation. Before After Union Square Before After Gansevoort Plaza Before After Allen Street NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 17
  • 18. Very Small Streets Very small streets, less than 40 feet in width be- tween buildings, are as much a part of a city’s street network as larger streets. While they may not carry heavy loads of through traffic, they provide access to properties and are often integral parts of the non-motorized street network. Many cities have made them pedestrian-only, removed curbs, or cre- ated shared spaces for people walking, driving and cycling. Santa Monica, CA Before Example: Longfellow Shared Street The cross-section on page 19 diagrams Longfellow Street, a curbless “shared” residential street in the Borderline neighborhood of Santa Monica, CA. Longfellow Street was one of the first shared streets in the United States. It codified and set a precedent in the US for what is known as a woonerf in the Neth- erlands, a Verkehrsberuhigungzone in Germany and a “home zone” in the United Kingdom. Previous attempts at establishing shared streets had limited success. Politicians often view low speed Santa Monica, CA zones as speed traps. Without sidewalks, a system After must be developed to guide those with limited sight and ensure that drivers yield to other street users. The success of Longfellow Street is owed in large part car parking and two-way traffic. In creating a legally to the residents and the city. The two collaborated “shared” space, the city paid particular attention to to develop a “shared” space design for pedestrians, accessibility concerns and signage. 18 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 19. § §1 14-foot wide shared roadway 2 § 10 mph “warning” speed limit § 3 § Stormwater is infiltrated § and “shared street” signs through the use of permeable paving systems, landscape planters and other purposely located pervious surfaces. 1 2 3 Single Family Home Private Garage Planting Planting 4’ 8’ 8’ 4’ Strip Strip (beyond) Parallel Parallel (beyond) Parking Parking (beyond) 12’ 14’ 13’ (beyond) Pathway to Shared Space Head-In Parking Residence 39’ Right-of-Way Longfellow Street, Santa Monica, CA 10’ Longfellow Street Solar-powered lights Shared Street Wheelchair-accessible mini-curbs Speed tables at each of the inter- sections guide pedestrians with limited sight. The “roadway” is considered the accessible route. NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 19
  • 20. Alleys & Passageways Alleys present cities with special challenges, but also opportunities. Typically built without standard street drainage, they tend to flood and many have never been significantly improved since the neigh- borhood was built. Today, cities around the US are realizing that alleys can be turned into community space and improved using green design. Bardstown, KY Fort Worth, TX New Orleans, LA San Francisco, CA 20 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 21. Best Practices: Green Alleys Chicago: Green Alleys Baltimore: Alley Gating and Greening Program Chicago DOT spearheaded a “green alleys” program Administered by the non-profit Community Greens, in 2006 to improve stormwater management without the Baltimore alley program began in the early 2000s new storm drains, reduce the heat island effect and when a group of neighbors sought to close their increase the use of recycled materials. The program network of alleys, which were overrun with crime and began with materials research, six pilot projects and trash. After encountering legal resistance, the group the creation of the Green Alley Handbook. This hand- formed a coalition and drafted an ordinance that book was a valuable tool used to educate the com- would allow alleys to be gated, which was passed in munity. After the pilots were installed, the program 2007. expanded to 32 alleys and is now a line item in the Gated alleys are subject to the following regulations: city’s annual budget. Funding comes from the local alderman’s budget for capital improvements and from • The community leases the alley from the city, discretionary funds. without the need for an easement. • The city has the right to re-open th alley to the public. • So as not to constitute a taking, 100% of resi- dents must agree to its closure. • Residents are responsible for maintenance. Before Chicago Green Alley Handbook Metropolis Chicago, IL Baltimore, MD After Detroit: Green Alleys Green Garage, a community-based business enter- prise center in Midtown Detroit, began working with local businesses in 2008 to renovate a trash-strewn alley in the middle of the neighborhood. Together with Wayne State University, the group was able to completely renovate the alleyway, installing gardens, permeable pavers and bollards to keep out through traffic. The renovated alley has become a vibrant gre- Green Garage enway between buildings. Detroit, MI NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 21
  • 22. CRITICAL ISSUES Streets and sidewalks are shaped by many variables–some visible and some not. While a new bike or bus lane tangibly alters the right-of-way, factors like signal timing, functional classification and level-of-service constitute only a small selection of the many invisible parameters that influence a street’s de- sign and operation. Left unaddressed, these critical issues can prevent streets from serving the needs of adjacent residents and businesses. A growing number of cities have overcome these obstacles and are improv- ing their streets. An emerging catalogue of best practices, supported by a new body of research, is setting a better standard for city street design. The Critical Issues section will help practitioners and decision-makers alike com- prehend how to best integrate city traffic engineering principles into street designs that balance the needs of residents with the realities of traffic. 22 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 24. Speed and Safety Vehicle speed plays a critical role in the cause and Higher speeds = severity of crashes. Lowering the frequency of in- juries and fatalities remains a crucial public health Higher crash risk and severity goal for our cities. This section documents the rela- tionship between speed and safety, looking at how There is a direct correlation between vehicle speed, appropriate street design can make our cities safer. crashes and severity thereof. Mass Risk of Pedestrian Fatality The difference in mass between the two colliding 100 bodies means the lighter of the two will bear the most 80 severe injury. Percent 60 40 20 0 20 30 40 50 Vehicle Speed (MPH) Bus Car Cyclist/Pedestrian 24,000 lbs 2,000 lbs 30 - 250 lbs Reaction and Stopping Distance Proactive Design The amount of distance a driver takes to react and Conventional street design is founded in highway come to a stop increases with increasing speeds. design principles that favor wide, straight, flat and open roads with clear zones that forgive and account Reaction & Stopping Distance vs. Speed for inevitable driver error. This is defined as “passive” 350 design. 301 300 Distance (Feet) 246 In recent years a new paradigm has emerged for urban 250 200 197 streets called proactive design. A proactive approach 152 150 112 uses design elements to affect behavior and to lower 100 77 speeds. Embracing proactive design may be the single 50 0 most consequential intervention in reducing pedes- 15 20 25 30 35 40 Vehicle Speed (MPH) trian injury and fatality. Since human error is inevitable, reducing the consequences of any given error or lapse Reaction Distance Stopping Distance of attention is critical. Cities around the country that have implemented measures to reduce and stabilize speed have shown a reduction in serious injuries and deaths for everyone on the road, from drivers to pas- sengers to pedestrians. 24 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 25. Vision Cone A driver’s visual focus diminishes as speed increases. Ridgewood, NJ 15 mph 20 mph 25 mph 30 mph NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 25
  • 26. Design Speed vs. Target Speed Design Speed Consequences The concept of design speed was originally defined in Current practices accommodate and even encourage 1936 as “the maximum approximately uniform speed speeding by designing streets where drivers may travel which [can] probably be adopted by the faster group faster than the intended speed limit. By applying rural of drivers, once clear of urban areas.” The definition and suburban design practices to urban streets, agen- has since evolved, and it is now used to select various cies are actually creating streets that become danger- geometric features of a roadway. ous to pedestrians and bicyclists. In basing the posted Except in urban areas with hilly topography, design speed limit on the 85th percentile, agencies allow speed is not a major factor in urban street design, speeds to be normalized based upon how fast drivers although it may be included in street design guide- are actually driving, rather than establishing the speed lines. For example, many highway design manuals at which drivers and other road users will be safest. stipulate that the design speed be based primarily Higher design speeds are deleterious to urban envi- upon a street’s functional classification, irrespective ronments in mandating larger curb radii, wider traffic of context. Many manuals also suggest that design lanes, streets without on-street parking, guardrails, speed should be 5 to 10 mph above posted speed. The and clear zones. Accommodating higher speeds also general premise draws on the principle that roads de- takes up valuable land. By designing for a faster set signed for heavy traffic, such as arterials, should have of drivers, crashes increase due to the differential in higher desirable and actual design speeds. speeds between those traveling at the design speed versus the posted speed. Operating Speed The operating speed is the speed at which the major- Recommendation ity of traffic on a given roadway operates. Operating speed is often defined as the 85th percentile vehicle Target Speed = Design Speed = speed. Posted Speed Posted Speed Design using target speeds–the speed you intend for The posted speed is based upon the operating speed drivers to go–rather than operating speed, the speed and local laws. In many circumstances, when routine at which drivers are going. Target speeds may fall speed checks are conducted, if the 85th percentile between 15-30 mph on general streets, while alleys, speed has increased since the last test, the posted shared spaces and pedestrian priority streets may be speed will in turn be raised. assigned target speeds as low as 10 mph. Many of the elements of great urban streets may then be incorpo- rated into these lower speed streets, using benches, narrow lanes, trees, on-street parking, or small curb radii, which create a virtuous cycle that naturally en- courages slower speeds. 26 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 27. Speed Control Mechanisms §§ Signals – signals can be timed to manage ve- lane may be 11 feet wide. hicle speeds or to prioritize other user groups like §§ Trees and landscaping – trees narrow a driver’s cyclists. field of vision and encourage slower driving. §§ On-street parking and bike lanes – make drivers §§ Medians and curb extensions – narrow pedes- aware of the presence of cyclists and entering/ trian crossing distances help to manage driver be- exiting vehicles. havior and mutually improve drivers’ and pedestri- §§ Lane width – research shows that reducing lane ans’ visibility of one another. widths does not increase the frequency of crash- §§ Traffic calming devices – speed tables, speed es, even on suburban arterials. On urban streets, humps and other tools that physically control the impact of driver error is greater, creating even speeds make it difficult to drive above the recom- more of an imperative to manage speed. 10-foot mended speed. wide lanes are of sufficient width for target speeds of 40 mph or less. On bus and truck routes, one Portland, OR New Orleans, LA The cycle track, on-street parking and trees along this street Trees and narrow street width encourage slower vehicle help reduce vehicle speed. speeds. Chicago, IL Plainfield, IL A mini traffic circle reduces speeding through this intersec- Curb extensions force motorists to make slower turns and tion. reduce the pedestrian crossing distance at this intersection. NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 27
  • 28. TREATMENTS & ELEMENTS Public spaces, streets and sidewalks are often limited by their preexisting ge- ometries and adjacent land uses. Despite these constraints, cities today have access to a growing toolbox of treatments and elements to activate their rights-of-way. From curbside public seating to green infrastructure and pe- destrian safety improvements, an array of new design strategies are helping cities carve vibrant public spaces out of underutilized roadbeds. This section investigates these innovations as part of a flexible approach to street design and safety, focusing in particular on the curbside as a malleable space bridg- ing the sidewalk and the street. . 28 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 29. Philadelphia , PA Credit: University City District
  • 30. Moving the Curb Originally designed to capture stormwater and lead The Guide looks at the curbside as a flexible space it to catch basins, curbs mark the traditional divid- that bridges and negotiates the street and the side- ing line between motorized and non-motorized walk. Cafe seating for adjacent businesses can replace space on the street. On-street parking reinforces curbside parking spaces. Bioswales and landscaping this division and serves as a physical boundary be- near the intersection can improve a street’s ecological tween the sidewalk and the street. Today, as cities performance, while simultaneously calming traf- reinvest in their streets as public spaces, curbside fic. The curb can host temporary uses and activities, uses are beginning to change and evolve. such as food trucks and vendors, or low-cost safety improvements that shorten pedestrian crossings at in- tersections. Cycle tracks and interim sidewalk widen- ing, meanwhile, officially extend the curb line and shift parking into a floating lane. The images on pages 30-31 present a few of the emerging curbside uses being embraced by US Cities. Bike Corrals Public Space San Francisco, CA New York, NY 30 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 31. Pop-up Cafes Food Trucks Make a new curb: Long Beach, CA Washington, DC CNU Bioswales Parking Lane Materials St. Paul, MN Landscaping & Traffic Calming Beth Fertig Portland, OR Santa Fe, NM NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 31
  • 32. Low Impact Design Low impact design (LID) refers to efforts to manage stormwater at the source, as opposed to directing it into the sewer system. LIDs are increasingly important as cities deal with climate change, water pollution and outdated infrastructure. In some circumstances, they can reduce long-term construction and maintenance costs, alleviate hazards from flooding and provide op- portunities for innovative design. The latter is espe- cially important as cities grapple with wide expanses of impermeable surfaces causing stormwater runoff. San Francisco, CA Where a given street falls within its particular water- shed dictates LID usage. Almost every street has a running slope: the higher portion deals with falling rain, while the lower portion handles rain and runoff. This begins to suggest design solutions reflective of local topography. Climates with more rainfall can sup- port lush plantings, while more arid climates require systems that can remain dry for long periods. Benefits §§ Delineates no parking zones through enhanced vegetation §§ Landscapes and beautifies the street Portland, OR §§ Diminishes pedestrian crossing distances when located in medians or bulb-outs §§ Reduces “ponding” at pedestrian ramps More Than Just Rain Gardens §§ Calms traffic as drivers move slower past trees and landscaping §§ Provides rationale for narrowing street widths §§ Acts as a buffer between traffic and the pedes- trian realm Port Townsend, WA 32 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 34. Parklets, Pop-ups & Street Seats Parklets, pop-ups and street seats transform one to two parking spaces into 200-400 square feet of public space. These treatments may be temporary or permanent. Parklet programs are on the rise all across the country, as cities rethink how to best uti- lize these public amenities. The following criteria are used in the design and place- ment of parklets, pop-up cafes and street seats: Location §§ Lack of public space in the surrounding area §§ Surrounding land uses that can attract people §§ Identified community or business steward §§ Pre-existing community support §§ Not immediately adjacent to the corner New York, NY §§ Not blocking a fire hydrant or bus stop Design §§ Materials that can stand up to impacts, resist scratches and not degrade under constant UV and moisture exposure University City District District §§ Protection from traffic while allowing for visibility via wheel stops, flexible bollards, street markings and railing edges §§ Curbside drainage not impeded Philadelphia, PA A business owner, community benefit district, non- profit or resident, is typically responsible for the con- struction costs, maintenance and liability insurance for the parklet. Permits are renewed annually. San Francisco, CA 34 NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview
  • 35. National Association of City Transportation Officials 55 Water St., Floor 9 New York, NY 10041 www.nacto.org nacto@nacto.org 212.839.6421 Acknowledgments Thank You to Our Funders and Sponsors NACTO would like to thank the following individu- als for their hard work and dedication to the Urban NACTO extends its deep appreciation to the fol- Street Design Guide project and for their contribu- lowing institutions for their generous support of tion to this Overview. the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview: Lead Project Staff Foundation The Rockefeller Foundation Linda Bailey, Federal Programs Advisor, New York City Department of Transportation Surdna Foundation David Vega-Barachowitz, Sustainable Initiatives Program Manager, NACTO Corporate Parsons Brinckerhoff NelsonNygaard Associates STV Group Michael King, Rick Chellman, Stephanie Wright, IBM Paul Supawanich Verizon HAKS Community Design + Architecture Car2go Thomas Kronemeyer, Jonah Chiarenza NACTO President Janette Sadik-Khan Executive Director Ron Thaniel Board Advisory Committee Atlanta Richard Mendoza Michele Wynn Baltimore Khalil Zaied Theo Ngongang Boston Tom Tinlin Vineet Gupta Chicago Gabe Klein Nathan Rosenberry, David Seglin, Chris Wuellner Detroit Ron Freeland Triette Reeves Houston Jeffrey Weatherford Jeffrey Weatherford Los Angeles Jaime de la Vega Jay Kim Minneapolis Jon Wertjes Don Elwood New York Janette Sadik-Khan Linda Bailey, Mike Flynn, Nicholaas Peterson Philadelphia Rina Cutler Ariel Ben-Amos, Stephen Buckley Phoenix Wylie Bearup Shane Silsby Portland Sam Adams Peter Koonce, Kurt Kreuger San Francisco Edward Reiskin Seleta Reynolds Seattle Peter Hahn Kevin O’Neill Washington DC Terry Bellamy Sam Zimbabwe NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Overview 35