Global Street Design Guide

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Global Street Design Guide

Existing Conditions

The illustration above is a schematic depiction of a network of narrow streets and alleys built before the car era.

The historic significance of such areas can restrict construction and reconstruction permissions.

Access for emergency vehicles and city services such as waste collection can be tight as streets are overrun with private automobiles.

While this network often has rich architecture and active ground floors, stores and businesses may struggle.

In some cities, exposed utilities such as drains and electric wires are an unavoidable part of the street, raising safety issues for all users.

Design Guidance

Revitalizing urban streets can help to reinvigorate the area and strengthen the historic centers. Create Limited Traffic Zones or pedestrianize selected corridors to restore the original balance and multiple functions of these streets. Work with local residents and businesses to identify areas to remove or limit through-traffic and parking, and prioritize pedestrians, cycling, and transit use. See: Pedestrian-Only Streets.

Add distinctive paving, street furniture, signage, and lighting to reinforce the character of the neighborhood.

Implement wayfinding and signage that reflect historical and cultural context and landmarks.

In areas with cobblestones or other uneven surfaces, consider adding narrow strips of pavers that allow for smoother cycle riding.

Limit cycling on streets where pedestrian volumes are high to avoid conflicts.

Pedestrianization should maintain access for emergency vehicles at all times of the day.

Allow automobile access during off-peak times for loading and delivery purposes, or for residents when necessary.

São Paulo, Brazil. The transformation of the main downtown streets into pedestrian areas occurred between 1976 and 1981. At the time, there were about 20 streets in the program, covering approximately 60,000 m. In addition, some sidewalks were extended to 10 m. This new configuration allowed the qualification of everyday uses with shaded seating areas. Today this area is in a process of expansion and redevelopment, with new furniture to accommodate new forms of use.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Case Study: Historic Peninsula; Istanbul, Turkey

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Case Study: Historic Peninsula; Istanbul, Turkey