Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Case Study: Second Ave.; New York City, USA

Location: Manhattan, New York City, USA
Population: 8.4 million
Metro: 20 million
Right-of-way: 30 m
Context: Mixed-Use (Office/Commercial/Residential) Main Street
Funding: Public
Max. Speed: 40 km/h


Manhattan’s Second Avenue was transformed through a series of projects, each reconfiguring a multi-block section of the street.

Changes were first as road markings, establishing new pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions that were later constructed when capital funding became available. The parking lane was moved away from the curb to create a protected cycle track, part of a 48-km network installed throughout the city since 2007.

Bus-only lanes, bus bulbs, and off-board fare collection machines were introduced as part as the Select Bus Service project, a BRT-like service that has increased bus ridership and decreased travel times as part of a citywide effort.




  • Reduce the number of traffic crashes and provide a safe, dedicated cycle facility.
  • Decrease bus travel times. Increase cycle volumes and pedestrian activity.
  • Reduce traffic volumes, noise, and pollution while increasing pedestrian safety.
  • Improve economic vitality and increase local business activity.

Lessons Learned

The project improved mobility and sustainability. It helped reduce vehicle volumes as users shifted to other modes, including cycles (+60%) and collective transit (+9% increase in bus ridership).

Protected cycle lanes and pedestrian refuge islands helped reduce traffic crashes with injures by 7% in the corridor.


Public Agencies
New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Transit

Citizen Associations and Unions
Local advocate groups

Designers and Engineers
New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Design and Construction


Project Timeline

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.