By Dom Nozzi, AICP
Too often, traffic engineering guidelines for a community takes a “one size fits all” approach. Such an approach nearly always adopts suburban, car-happy design as the default approach. Unfortunately, this severe restriction on freedom of travel and lifestyle choice means, to paraphrase Henry Ford, that you can choose any form of travel and lifestyle as long as it is suburban and car-dependent.
Since there will always be a meaningful number of citizens in our communities who seek not the suburban choice but the walkable, urban lifestyle (or neighborhoods that are safe for children, seniors and pets), it is essential that the traffic design manual contain tools sufficient to provide for the street design needed to create walkable, human-scaled places.
In recent years, the emerging term used to refer to this customize-able approach is the “context-sensitive” street design. Such design recognizes that once a high-speed suburban or highway design enters a community, a neighborhood, or a special, walkable district, it needs to transition into a more human-scaled design that obligates cars to drive in a slower, safer, more courteous and aware manner. The following are recommended citations for context-sensitive design for streets.
1. “Traffic Engineering for Neo-Traditional Neighborhood Design,” Feb. 1994. An Informational Report of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
2. “Street Connectivity in Practice”, Planners Advisory Service Report #515 from the American Planning Association.
3. “Pedestrian Facilities User Guide” by FHA of the USDOT, March 2002.
4. “Street Standards” by Southworth & Ben-Joseph. APA Journal Winter 1995.
5. “The Design of Traditional Neighborhood Streets” by Rick Chellman, 9/98, from the Seaside Institute.
6. “Traditional Neighborhood Development — street design guidelines” by ITE, June 1997.
7. “AASHTO (2001) and the Urban Arterial” by Peter Swift. 2003. From Swift and Associates, Longmont CO.
8. “Traditional Neighborhood Development — street design guidelines.” NCDOT Div. of Hwys. TND Guidelines. 8/00. Raleigh NC.
8. “Street-type matrix” Portland OR. 10/02.
9. “Changing the Residential Street Scene” by Eran Ben-Joseph. APA Journal Autumn 1995.
10. “Neighborhood Street Design Guidelines” Vancouver WA SE Neighborhood Traffic Mgmt Plan. 10/03.
11. “Mobility-Friendly Street Standards for Delaware” by Reid Ewing. Urban Street Symposium Conference Proceedings: Dallas. 12/00.
12. “Urban Design Guidelines.” City of Raleigh NC. Draft 6.6.01
13. “Central Florida Mobility Design Manual.” Prepared for Lynx by Glattening, Jackson. 1994/1995 edition.
14. “The Hidden Design in Land Use Ordinances.” Edited by Paula M. Craighead. March 1991.
15. “Twelve Steps Toward Community Walkability” by FDOT Safety Office. Pedestrian Facilities Planning and Design Training Course. Undated.
16. “Design Highlights: Traditional Neighborhood Development District” by Tunnel-Spangler & Associates for the City of Oak Ridge TN. 11/01.