Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A new guide consolidates standards and specifications for street design -- from pavement to street lighting -- in one resource.
Streets make up over a quarter of New York City's land area, and occupy the bulk of its public space. Accordingly, the city has drawn up a 232-page manual in an effort to remake the city's utilitarian streets into safe, environmentally-friendly roadways shared by pedestrians, cyclists and cars. The New York City Street Design Manual, two years in the making, promises to serve as a comprehensive resource for promoting higher quality street designs and more efficient project implementation. It builds on innovations in street design, materials and lighting developed around the world, and provides guidance in four major areas: setting appropriate goals for each project, providing a framework for design decisions, establishing a clear and consistent design-review process and serving as a central, comprehensive reference guide that will be refined and updated as new best practices evolve in New York City and beyond. Anyone -- city agencies, design professionals, private developers, community groups -- can keep track of the document as it evolves by signing up for e-mail updates. The manual, the first of its kind for the city, is the product of an inter-agency task force involving more than a dozen agencies led by the city Department of Transportation. It echoes similar guides issued in recent years by Chicago, San Francisco, Washington and Portland, Ore. The entire manual can be downloaded for free, or print copies can be purchased for $35.