Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Streets are for more than just automobiles

Streets are for more than just automobiles. Three Best Practices discuss how to make streets safe and healthy for people.

"Streets to Live By: How livable street design can bring economic, health and quality-of-life benefi ts to New York City" is a 2008 report by Transportation Alternatives, advocates for bicycling, walking and public transit. The report analyzes the potential economic and quality-of-life benefits that an expanded livable streets initiative could bring New York City.

The executive summary of the report explains, "A livable street prioritizes people and all their activities – sitting, strolling, resting, shopping and observing city life. Cities such as San Francisco and London have embarked on large-scale livable streets initiatives to encourage people to walk, ride a bike or hop on the train rather than get behind the wheel of a private automobile. In turn, livable street improvements are bringing striking economic and quality-of-life benefi ts to those cities. For example, pedestrian-friendly retail zones are drawing large numbers of new shoppers and quiet and traffic-calmed streets are bringing higher property values, less crime and greater social cohesion among neighbors."

"Streets for Living: Planning and Best Practices in Street Design" by Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, Blackbird Architects, Van Atta Associates and Sherwood Design Engineers offers several case studies to underline what it takes to create living streets.

"Living streets are streets designed to be shared safely by pedestrians, bicycles and low speed motor vehicles," the report explains. "Similar to pedestrian plazas, living streets are characterized by a lack of curb separation between the sidewalk and the street right-of-way. They therefore reclaim street space for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, community and commercial activity, while enhancing ecological performance by increasing the proportion of permeable surfaces and vegetation. Living streets may also reduce infrastructure costs through the use of a single stormwater drainage system instead of two stormwater systems on either side of the road."

"Safe Routes To Transit: Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide Pedestrian Section" updates and augments the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy's Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide.

"A key component of BRT station planning and design is the provision of safe, convenient and secure access for pedestrians. If it is not convenient or easy to walk to a BRT station, then customers will be discouraged from using the system. Providing a Safe Route To Transit is therefore the fi rst step to providing an eff ective BRT service,"
the Nelson\Nygaard authors explain.