publication coverAuthor(s):  Madeline Brozen, Ryan Snyder Date: October 1, 2011 Publication: Lewis Center/Institute of Transportation Studies Project: Model Design Manual For Living Streets

The Model Design Manual for Living Streets provides guidance that can replace existing road standard manuals with updated techniques and concepts reflecting a greater emphasis on active transportation and environmental sustainability.  This manual is useful to help design streets on the project level as well as assist cities in identifying a broader vision of transportation and streets in their communities.  This document provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of street design – covering both transportation and the other functions that streets inherently serve. Examples of the transportation related topics include chapters on intersection design and universal pedestrian access. This project expands the idea of traditional transportation only related street design as it also includes chapters such as Streetscape Ecosystem (managing water) and Re-Placing Streets: Putting the Place Back in Streets. The Manual provides a template for local jurisdictions to begin updating existing manuals.  Many cities today lack the resources to undertake a major revision of their manuals. Therefore, cities can customize the manual for their own context and streets.  This manual was produced by a team of many of the top 45 street designers in the United States.  The team comprised experts from traffic engineering, transportation planning, land use planning, architecture, landscape architecture, public health, sociology and other backgrounds.   

California cities can use this manual to assist them with new requirements of the California Complete Streets Act. This law mandates General Plan Circulation Elements consider all roadway users, the main principle of “complete streets.” Additionally, the document helps cities comply with new requirements for reducing stormwater runoff. The combination of these elements combines the principles of complete streets and living streets. Overall, the Manual offers guidance on designing streets that provide opportunities for active transportation.

The funding is predominately from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant. This grant sought to expand opportunities for people to bicycle and walk as obesity prevention efforts. However, Ryan Snyder Associates wanted the manual to expand beyond transportation aspects of streets. For that reason, additional funding was provided by the UCLA Luskin Center to include the Streetscape Ecosystem chapter to address environmental sustainability issues related to streets.

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