Global Street Design Guide

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Global Street Design Guide

Existing Conditions

Buildings may have little or no setbacks, and drainage channels may run on both sides of the street, below or next to the sidewalks. In some contexts, these channels are uncovered.

Limited space can result in narrow and discontinuous sidewalks that are inaccessible and blocked by parking.

Shared streets may emerge as an existing condition informally, especially in suburban or largely unplanned residential settlements.

Pedestrian facilities on residential streets may be poor or entirely missing, with motor vehicles dominating the right-of-way.

The most accessible section of the street is often the center, where pedestrians may be discouraged from walking by pressure from motor vehicles.

Design Guidance

Transform streets with low vehicular volumes and high pedestrian activity into shared streets.

Treat this street as a slow street. Use vertical and horizontal deflections to slow driving speeds. See: Traffic Calming Strategies.

Use curbs and surface treatments that create unusual geometries to enhance the feeling of shared environments and encourage drivers to reduce speeds by diverting their path of travel.

Design shared residential streets to operate intuitively as shared spaces, where pedestrians are prioritized. Use signage to educate the public in the early stages of implementation. Residential shared street signage often depicts children playing to make motorists aware of entering a low-speed area.

Test designs with interim strategies and low-cost solutions. Movable planters, sculptures, street furniture, and designated parking may act as horizontal speed deflectors and help achieve the desired results.

Design clear gateways onto the shared street, with narrow vehicle path entries to slow vehicular traffic to appropriate speeds. Use grade changes, paving textures and colors, and tactile strips to alert pedestrians when they are crossing out of the shared street into general traffic space.

Designate zones for parking, landscaping, and flexible activities to create a chicane condition and slow vehicular traffic. Flexible zones allow streets to be used by residents as an extension of their homes, as play zones by children, and as cycle parking.

Maintain a clear path for cars and cycles. The path can be defined using landscape, street furniture, parking zones, street utility poles, or textured pavers.

Use textures and street furniture to reinforce priority for pedestrians.

Change materials and colors to demarcate different zones. Parking zones must be clearly marked to avoid unregulated parking.

Provide drainage channels at the center of the street or along the flush curb, depending on underground utilities and other existing conditions.

Select pavings, material, and furniture based on regional climate and durability. Opt for snow-compatible materials for colder climates or permeable pavers for places with high rainfall. See: Implementation and Materials.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Example 2: 10 m

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Example 2: 10 m