Streets are the lifeblood of our communities and the foundation of our urban economies. They make up more than 80 percent of all public space in cities and have the potential to foster business activity, serve as a front yard for residents, and provide a safe place for people to get around, whether on foot, bicycle, car, or transit. The vitality of urban life demands a design approach sensitive to the multi-faceted role streets play in our cities.
Streets Are Public Spaces
Streets are often the most vital yet underutilized public spaces in cities. In addition to providing space for travel, streets play a big role in the public life of cities and communities and should be designed as public spaces as well as channels for movement.
Great Streets are Great for Businesses
Cities have realized that streets are an economic asset as much as a functional element. Well-designed streets generate higher revenues for businesses and higher values for homeowners.
Streets Can Be Changed
Transportation engineers can work flexibly within the building envelope of a street. This includes moving curbs, changing alignments, daylighting corners, and redirecting traffic where necessary. Many city streets were built or altered in a different era and need to be reconfigured to meet new needs. Street space can also be reused for different purposes, such as parklets, bike share, and traffic calming.
Adapted from the Urban Street Design Guide, published by Island Press.