Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Prioritize Non-Motorized Transport Modes

Provide safe pedestrian and cycle infrastructure by building sidewalks and cycle lanes that are continuous and paved, well-lit, and well-maintained. Where streets are too narrow to provide accessible sidewalks, shared streets should be designed to ensure equitable access to people of all abilities. When these are paved, motorists feel invited to travel faster. Implement traffic calming measures to ensure all users remain aware of each other and to proactively shape cultural mobility habits where car ownership is low. See: Designing for Pedestrians and Designing for Cyclists.

Integrate Transport with Mixed-Use Planning

Prioritize investment in infrastructure and transport where growth is occurring. Ensure that jobs, schools, health centers, commercial activity, and other community facilities are provided in growth areas and are accessible via collective transport. See: Designing Streets for Place.

Increase Network Connectivity

Work with local communities to determine the best routes to develop a street hierarchy and key destinations that improve access to public utilities and emergency services. Strategic widening on certain  corridors should help local businesses grow and maintain the pedestrian character of streets. Displacement should be minimized and well compensated, offering relocations within the same area. Document, map, and communicate the street network to local residents and service providers to ensure all stakeholders are aligned.

Medellín, Colombia. New streets, paths, and circulation infrastructure in Comuna 13 improve the quality of public space and access for the local community.

Provide Drainage

Streets should be designed to move, retain, and transfer water to larger connected systems. Standing water and open sewers cause serious health hazards and are extremely dangerous on streets with narrow  rights-of-way.

Informal spaces, especially when lying in hilly areas, should take advantage of the contextual hydrology and topography for laying out drainage and water-supply systems to minimize costs. Provision for trunk infrastructure should be coordinated with street designs.

Ensure Lighting

Ensure that pedestrian spaces are well lit, avoiding dark spots by placing lights at close, regular intervals. Where power supply is not reliable, consider renewable technologies for energy generation. See: Lighting Design Guidance.

Basic Utilities and Services

Develop a strategy to include basic public utilities within the public right-of-way. Street design and access can improve waste collection, recycling, and waste management. Service and emergency vehicles should be accommodated on strategic routes. Drains and openings should be covered and made safe for pedestrians and cyclists. See: Utilities and Infrastructure.

Facilitate Navigation and Wayfinding

It is important to adopt wayfinding and street name systems and signage to ease navigation through these neighborhoods for residents, visitors, and emergency services. See: Wayfinding.

Enhance Collective Transport

Consider options for new collective transport systems to access informal settlements, whether bus, BRT, light rail, or metro. In particularly steep hillside communities, consider aerial lifts or escalators for improved access. Collective transport service must be a reliable, affordable, safe, and efficient alternative to car ownership.

Allow Movement of Goods

Consider the delivery of goods by vehicle to strategic distribution points within the street network, supplemented by a system of smaller carts, vehicles, or carriers that allow the transfer to local homes or businesses. See: Designing for Freight and Service Operators.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.