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Streetscapes can Save Lives

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

We are taking a closer look at the benefits well planned streetscapes have on safety. Streetscape design enables communities to share and use the street among motorists, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians. It can include street lighting, sidewalk coverage, walkways, infrastructure, street crossing features, and traffic elements. Each of these streetscape design factors works together to create a safe environment for all. Here are streetscape designs that can improve safety for citizens.

Street Lighting: Pedestrian-oriented lighting adds to overall streetscape safety by improving visibility for citizens. Lighting fixtures designed to reduce light pollution and in-ground lighting can illuminate walkways without creating distractions for pedestrians or conflicting with traffic lights for drivers. A well-lit streetscape can increase a sense of personal safety.

Bike Facilities: Optimally designed and implemented bike system benefit transit users, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists by providing safe access in shared spaces. Sidewalk and street connections allow pedestrians and cyclists alternative paths to reach destinations. Bicycle parking should be easily accessible and located away from the pedestrian path of travel. This will aid in the safety for anyone using these paths.

Parking: Houston is a booming city and with such a large, diverse population, parking is necessary. Streetscape designs that offer parking on the outside edge of a wide line, parallel parking in a separate lane, angled parking, and head-in parking provide citizens safer more accessible parking options. In additional streetscape elements such as drainage, lighting, and visibility have a significant impact on safety and quality of parking.

Crosswalks: Cross sections are a vital element to any city. To optimize safety, these shared spaces should include a pedestrian space on the edge of the right-of-way in the areas of wider sidewalks, more space to plant street trees and screening shrubs, as well as above-ground utilities and street signage. Carefully planned right-of-way and cross sections are crucial to the safety of anyone using them.

Well-designed streetscapes allow communities to safely share roads among motorists, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Scenic Houston is creating its Streetscape Resource Guide (SRG) 3.0 which will provide stakeholders optimal planning design and instruction for Houston. Click here to view the current SRG and here to learn more about the SRG 3.0.

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