Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Narrow Sidewalk

Quiet streets in low-density contexts might have too narrow sidewalks. A recommended minimum clear path of 2.4 m and an absolute minimum of 1.8 m should be provided. When streets are too narrow for trees, other alternatives to landscaping should be explored. If comfortable sidewalks cannot be provided on both sides of a street, a shared street is preferred. Locate utilities and other obstructions immediately against the curb.

Ribbon Sidewalk

In low-density streets where the sidewalk sits between a planting strip and a set-back building, provide a minimum width of 2 m. Tree pits should not be less than 1.5 m wide. Locate utility poles in the planting strip.

Narrow Sidewalk with Trees

Medium-density residential streets should maintain a clear walking path of 2.4 m or more. When space allows, trees should be planted between the clear path and the moving or parking lane. Tree pits should be at least 1.5 m wide.

Neighborhood Main Street

On small retail streets with low but persistent pedestrian traffic, sidewalks should provide a minimum clear path of 2.4 m in addition to space for commercial activities. When there is not enough width to plant trees, provide landscaping strips or planters.

Neighborhood Main Street 2

Neighborhood main streets should provide a clear path of 2.4 m to allow moderate volumes of people to comfortably pass one another. Space for commercial activity to extend from storefronts should be allocated on the building side. Tree pits, planters, and seating should provide a buffer between pedestrians and moving vehicles or cycles.

Medium Commercial Sidewalk

Commercial corridors should provide a clear path of 3 m or more to allow a continuous flow and enable people to comfortably pass one another. Ground-floor activities from adjacent buildings can be encouraged to activate the sidewalk by providing flexible and dedicated space on the sidewalk adjacent to the clear path.

Wide Commercial Sidewalk

Busy commercial corridors with heavy pedestrian flows and activities should be designed, when possible, with a width of 8–10 m, allowing for commercial activity, street furniture, transit stops and shelters or queuing spaces, landscaping, and green infrastructure.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

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Design Guidance