PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY DESIGN:Purpose of Tool:
Pedestrian-friendly design creates places where people can meet, shop,
recreate, and enjoy themselves walking. Pedestrian-friendly environments
follow one simple rule— the pedestrian is the priority (not vehicular
traffic). These areas tend to share the following physical
Pedestrians are effectively separated from moving traffic for safety
purposes. Separation is provided through the use of wide sidewalks,
on-street parking, landscaped areas, or other physical barriers.
Pedestrians can cross the street safely and easily. Intersections are
designed to reduce pedestrian crossing distances, crosswalks are clearly
marked and aligned with sidewalks, and pedestrian crosswalk signals are
automatic or easy to use.
The streets are full of life. In pedestrian-friendly retail areas,
storefronts and buildings are continuous and contain windows that create
visual interest and variety.
In commercial areas, on-street parking is available to support retail
Well-designed paving, street furniture (such as seating areas,
planters, etc.) and lighting make the public sidewalk a place where
people want to be.
Employment, residential and commercial districts are connected by a
safe and easily walkable environment.
Prototype design standards are used consistently to encourage
Benefits of Using Tool:
Pedestrian-friendly design has the following benefits(2):
Whenever walking becomes a reasonable alternative to driving, some
people will walk rather than drive, and taking these extra cars off the
road will reduce vehicle miles traveled, having a positive impact on air
Fitness experts agree that regular daily activity is the key to good
health. Walking is the most affordable and convenient way for most of us
to stay active.
Pedestrian-oriented streets encourage shoppers to linger. Retail and
commercial developers have learned that a walkable environment sells
commercial real estate.
Street trees not only attract pedestrians, they also help clean the
air, reduce storm water runoff, and moderate temperatures.
Walking is the cheapest form of transport for everyone. Walkable
communities have the most affordable and most efficient transportation
Streets that draw more pedestrians and encourage social interaction
tend to have lower crime rates and other social problems.
Cities and towns that offer interesting streets with active pedestrian
life become vibrant cultural and economic centers that draw visitors
from the surrounding region.
In just a few years, investments in pedestrian-oriented streetscape
improvements may show visible and economic results in a community. These
improvements can help make the community healthier, more vibrant, and a
more attractive place to live, work and own a business.
Steps Involved to Use Tool:
According to the Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian
Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System, in order to use a
pedestrian-oriented design approach, the following enhancements should
Sidewalks and Walkways
- While continuous walkways are the goal, retrofitting areas originally
developed without them will usually occur in phases.
- In retrofitting streets that do not have a continuous or accessible
walkway system, locations near transit stops, schools, parks, public
buildings, and other areas with high concentrations of pedestrians
should be the highest priority.
- Street furniture (i.e. benches, planters, etc.) placement should not
restrict pedestrian flow.
Marked Crosswalks and Enhancements
- Follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design guidelines.
- Texture patterns must be detectable to blind pedestrians.
- Crosswalk locations should be convenient for pedestrian access.
- Crosswalk markings alone are unlikely to benefit pedestrian safety.
Ideally, crosswalks should be used in conjunction with other measures,
such as curb extensions, to improve the safety of a pedestrian crossing,
particularly on multi-lane roads with average daily traffic above about
10,000 vehicles per day.
- Marked crosswalks are important for pedestrians with vision loss.
- Crosswalk markings must align with the ramps so that a wheelchair user
may remain within a marked crosswalk to access the ramp.
Roadway Lighting Improvements
- Ensure adequate room to allow wheelchair users access to the transit
- Ensure a clear and comfortable path for passing pedestrians when
determining the location of transit shelters.
- Locate transit stops on the far side of marked crosswalks, so that
pedestrians cross behind stopped transit vehicles.
- Transit stations must be wheelchair accessible, which generally
results in long ramps on either end of overpasses.
- Ensure that pedestrian walkways and crosswalks are well-lit.
- Install lighting on both sides of wide streets and along all streets
in commercial districts.
- Use uniform lighting levels.
- Lighting, drainage, graffiti removal, and security are major concerns
Special Requirements to Use Tool:
According to the HWA PEDSAFE resources, special requirements
and considerations for implementing pedestrian-oriented design include
the following efforts:
Develop prototypes that are consistent with local community conditions
and respectful of the local culture.
Develop a maintenance program for bicycle facilities.
Use the Walkability Checklist published by the FHWA, to help determine
where improvements are needed or to evaluate streetscapes after
improvements are made.
Develop and implement the plan of action, which should include clearly
defined short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals.
Begin seeking out immediate sources of funding for design and other
initial costs. Tap into potential contributions from various
stakeholders, including private developers, cities, counties, special
improvement districts, regional agencies, and State Departments of
Transportation in your area.
Prepare a design code/revised ordinance/design guidelines for
Invite public review of the code. Make necessary revisions to the code
as a result of community preferences.
Streamline the permitting process and consider other incentives to
attract new development.
Hire a staff person and give them adequate authority to oversee
Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
Many factors and resources are needed to implement
high-quality pedestrian-friendly design measures. One approach is to
establish a pedestrian-friendly design task force that includes elected
officials, representatives of the local police and public works
departments, the school district, parents, teachers, students, and other
concerned neighbors to get maximum community input and buy-in..
Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
Communities, agencies and individuals that have successfully
implemented pedestrian-friendly design include:
City of Berkeley – Transportation Division
2180 Milvia Street, 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7000
City of Boulder - Transportation Operations Department
PO Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306
Phone: (303) 441-3266
Fax: (303) 441-4271
City of Clemson
Planning and Codes Administration Department
PO Box 1566
Clemson, SC 29633
Phone: (864) 653-2050
Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
In many cases, implementing pedestrian-friendly design has
helped meet community goals and objectives and improved quality of life.
For example, the implementation of pedestrian-friendly design in the
I-55 Corridor Study in Colorado showed:
Decreased traffic speeds
Decreased traffic volume
Increased bicycle and pedestrian volume
Increased traffic calming effect
List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
See the following sources for more information:
Walkable Communities, Inc.
Phone: (386) 454-3304,
Partners for a Walkable America
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
USDOT-The Walkability Checklist
FHWA Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
Livable Streets Toolbox- China Town Renewal Project
1-2 Pedestrian Friendly Streets-Revitalizing Cities Series, Debra Ames, Marketing Director, Portland, Oregon.