(OLYMPIA)– When is a highway not a highway? When it’s also a community’s main arterial that does more than just move vehicles through a corridor. It must function as a connector, providing local access to businesses, parking for customers and sidewalks and bikeways for people to travel.
In acknowledgement of that, the Washington State Department of Transportation is the first state DOT in the nation to officially endorse the new Urban Street Design Guidelines, a publication that focuses on the complex needs of city streets and making them work for everyone.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials developed the guidelines as a vision for city street design that considers all modes of travel. The guidance is based on designs tried and proven successful in urban areas including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston.
WSDOT typically designs roadways to meet national design standards for high-speed highways; those standards aren’t always a good fit for low-speed arterials. With the new guide, transportation engineers and planners will have more flexibility when designing elements of a project and can shift their focus toward the livability, economic and mobility needs of a community.