Arterial streets (primary cross town streets) are often the lifeblood of a community, connecting neighborhoods, business districts, open space, schools, etc. Over the past 50 years this notion of connectivity, for all people, has been deteriorating. We increasingly think of streets as places only for cars. Yet streets are one of the main reasons that people live in the same community- to share common space. How we design, build, and think of streets is one of the most critical tasks facing society today.
The three primary classifications of streets are arterial, collector (these are usually lighter in traffic volume than arterials and serve more to connect arterials and neighborhoods), and local, or neighborhood, streets.
Plants, illumination, paving material, parking, center islands, and non-motorized facilities are some of the considerations for a street.
The Higgins Bridge in Missoula could use a makeover- two 'car lanes' would work better than 4, the bikeway could be wider and separated from cars with a curb or landscaping, and the sidewalk should be at least wide enough for two people to walk comfortably side-by-side.
In this intersection in Vancouver B.C. note the crosswalk design and the position of the stop-bar for cars. Putting the stop-bar back from the intersection another two feet would create a larger buffer space between front bumpers of waiting cars and crossing pedestrians.
This street in Copenhagen has many elements: motorways, bikeways, and pedways.
Report on building new roads:
Not only can building more roadway induce more traffic, but building more roadway can actually decrease existing capacity. An Atlantic Monthly article that explains this phenomenon.
This rural road has a bike slip on the outside of a speed table.
A street scene from Juneau, Alaska. Parking on one side, well-marked cross walk, minimum car lanes, and a covered walkway are some of the features.
Down the road, conservation of resources, like asphalt, will become increasingly important. This picture shows that we may have opportunities to use less surfacing materials in order to provide mobility. We can learn from the patterns that snow, and even leaves, create in our streets.
This is a street scene from China. Notice the absence of a middle yellow line (less clutter, less maintenance), the dotted bike lane line for ease of passing, and the width of the bike lane for ease of passing. MIST is interested in working with groups in China on sustainable transportation issues.
Links: (activated soon)
an article on great streets
Sometimes a street is too big and needs to be put on a diet
Project for Public Spaces
Website for Context-Sensitive Highway Design- The Federal Highway Administration
American Planning Association