Imagine a bustling street shared happily and safely by peds, cyclists, cars, and buses alike. The new Urban Street Design Guide issued by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) brings that vision one step closer to reality because it urges urban planners to focus on five principles which create world class street design:
- Great Streets are Great for Business: Streets are an economic asset as much as a functional element. Well-designed streets generate higher revenues for businesses and higher values for homeowners.
- Design for Safety: Traffic crashes, are the leading cause of death among children aged 5 to 14. These deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries are avoidable. Traffic engineers can and should do better, by designing streets where people walking, parking, shopping, bicycling, working and driving can cross paths safely.
- Streets are Public Spaces: Streets play a large role in the public life of cities and communities and should be designed to include public spaces as well as channels for movement.
- Streets can be Changed: Street space can be reused for different purposes, such as parklets, bicycle parking and pop-up cafes.
- Act Now: Cities across the US have begun using a stepped approach to major redesigns, where temporary materials are used in the short term, to be replaced by permanent materials after the public has tested the design thoroughly.