Since no two communities are exactly alike, Street Design Guides must also vary in scope and detail to be customized for specific needs and goals of a transportation system. The primary goal of a Street Design Guide is to create a formal reference document to provide guidance on future transportation improvements.
While customized for individual community needs, all Street Design Guides follow a similar set of steps. Check out the following on-demand webinar as Brian Willham, PE, PTOE, PTP, Transportation Planner & Engineer with Snyder & Associates explores the steps to formally document your technical street design guidance. While the process may seem overwhelming to some community leaders, Willham carefully outlines the critical steps and shares case study examples.
Street Design Guide Webinar Agenda
- Purpose of Developing a Street Design Guide
- Gathering Stakeholder Input
- Creating a Major Streets Plan
- Street Design Guide Planning
- Traffic Calming Techniques
Comprehensive & Multimodal Transportation Systems (0:18)
I want to go through the new Waukee Street Design Guide and major streets plan that we recently put together and hopefully give you all an idea of how this might apply to the communities that you represent or that you’re working in. In 2019, Waukee completed their “Imagine Waukee 2040” comprehensive plan and you can see this is one of the guiding principles that came out of that plan. The city really wanted to have a comprehensive and multimodal transportation system. You can see a couple of the goals and the associated action items that were included in the transportation section of that comprehensive plan are very focused on multimodal transportation and alternative modes and then ultimately leading to these action items of creating some design guides around that and some traffic calming policies to really support that guiding principle out of the plan.
Street Design Guides Provide a Working Toolbox (1:14)
In addition to those goals and action items that I talked about before for the comprehensive plan, here are a few other reasons why the city decided to pursue this update to the major streets plan and the street design guide.
The last major streets plan was done in 2005, so it was really just time for an update. A lot has changed in Waukee between then and now. The city has been starting to receive some more concerns primarily from residents that live along the residential collector streets. As those have started to get a little bit busier with just the general growth in the town. It’s also going to be a good tool for city staff and development engineers too, just to give them good guidance and a good toolbox to work from when they’re looking at some of these new transportation networks and intersections in these growing parts of town.
Lastly, back to addressing some of the citizen concerns, something that the city has been looking for to have just an easy-to-use toolbox with some of these traffic calming ideas to be able to quickly address concerns as they come in.
Collaborating with Dedicated Stakeholders to Understand Traffic Demands (2:19)
All right, I wanted to take a little bit of time to talk about who all was involved in putting the plan and the major streets plan together. It was really led by the public works department and development services department similar to the comp plan being led by the development services department. So it made sense for them to help lead off this one too, but it was really important for this effort to really get the emergency responders involved. So we had several meetings with the police department and fire department who also handles ambulance service and things like that so that we had a good feeling for some of their primary response routes, concerns and limitations with some of the equipment that they use as far as widths and turning maneuverability and things like that.
And really just at the end of the day with a plan like this, we wanted everyone involved possible so that it was a plan that everyone could get behind at the end of the day. I highlighted administration too, and the city manager is very important in being able to take what we’re putting together with this plan and help to communicate that with the city council. We did have a work session or two with city council just so that they could see what we’re doing and be able to ask questions as we went along too.
As far as public input goes, we didn’t have a specific public input session for this plan simply because the comprehensive plan was just recently finished and there were some dedicated meetings with the transportation system from that and so we were able to make sure that we took the information that was gathered there and incorporate that into this plan too.
Distinguish between Various Streets Types on Future Land Use Map (3:53)
Well, the first thing we’re going to talk about is the update to the Major Streets Plan. We decided to use the Future Land Use Map as the background, and really that is just so when it’s being used, especially in these growth areas of town you can see we’ve got a lot of the future street network laid out, it’s just really helpful for city staff and for developers in town to get a feel for in general “what are we looking at as far as a transportation network of the arterials and collectors in these newer areas of town.”
Here you can see this is a little bit of a zoomed-in area of one of the maps, and you can just see that we went through and we really worked hard and identified where all of the major arterials, minor arterials, major and minor collector streets both existing and future. And again, back to some of the concerns that the city has been hearing about the residential collector streets, we really wanted to differentiate between a major and a minor collector street with the minor collector streets being the ones where those driveway frontages are. That was important for us to distinguish between the two when we looked at some of the different design criteria, speed criteria, and things like that.
Establishing Street Design Criteria Table (5:06)
Here are just a few things out of the new street design guide that I wanted to highlight. We included a design criteria table, so again, looking at the various types of streets, local the collector streets, the two types of arterial streets, both minor and major, and just working through with city staff and emergency responders so that we could come up with some good lane widths and parking widths, and just the basic design criteria for these various types of streets.
Here we’ve got access spacing criteria. So just getting into some of the access management, and again, just really trying to focus everything on these new street types that we’re talking about with the minor and major collectors arterials and the local streets. This is a table that we put together that really just gives an idea as say a new area of town is being planned and there are some new intersections that might be happening alongside some new developing areas. Just an idea of what city staff or development engineers might be needing to think about at some of these key intersections.
For example, if there are a couple of major collectors intersecting in a new area rather than just defaulting to a traditional two-lane intersection, we know we’re probably going to need to be looking at additional turn lanes just to handle the traffic at an intersection like that. Considering roundabouts and then possibly traffic signals too.
Defining & Differentiating Street Types (6:34)
So for each of these street types, we created a sheet that looks something like this, and we tried to put some useful information into this so that it’s easy for city staff or city council to grab and understand some of the differences between some of these street types.
So we just start off with the definition and really tried to highlight the difference in functionality of this street versus some of the other ones and so we tried to highlight that a little bit. We give an example of two or three different streets in town that would qualify for this street type just to give people an idea of some similarities so they can kind of understand, “Oh, I’ve driven on that street so maybe I understand what you’re talking about when we’re talking about these minor collector streets.”
We’ve got some general typical sections that we’ve put together, and that’s just really a starting point. Especially when we’re laying out some new roadways throughout town, through some of the newer areas and getting into some overall street widths, some right-of-way widths, some lane usage, some parking and even starting to get into some of the jointing patterns too, again, just as a starting point for some of the developers.
And at the bottom, we included a little discussion on traffic calming design and we’ll talk in a minute, we’ve got an entire section on traffic calming, but we wanted to tie each of the street types that the various traffic calming elements actually applied to and put that here too, just so that it was an easy sort of reference between this section of the guide and the traffic calming section of the guide.
Traffic Calming Design Techniques (8:02)
So speaking of traffic calming, this is the section that we put together on some traffic calming ideas and these are things that we referenced right out of the ITE toolbox. So this is going to be pretty familiar for a lot of you, but what we really wanted to do was put together some of these information pages so that it was easy to understand, especially if a city council person wants to check this out, or someone on the administrative staff just to have a handy tool to be able to refer to when they’re trying to work through issues with neighborhoods and things like that.
So again, we’ve looked at things like chokers, corner extensions, median islands, trying to not only provide some refuge space for pedestrian crossings but to narrow up some lane widths and slow traffic down here and there. We did work really closely again with the police department and fire department, as I’d mentioned, and what we really landed on with them is that they really were not interested in having much to do with vertical deflection in town, but we did work through with them just to help them understand the differences between say speed humps and speed tables, where speed tables we can really lengthen those out a little bit through design so they’re not quite as of an abrupt vertical change for some of their vehicles but it also does a nice job of slowing traffic down and then where we combine that with a raised crosswalk, then we can get pedestrians up a little bit so they’re much more visible to drivers.
New Street Design Guide Influences Future Decision-Making (9:27)
So at the end of the plan, we had an opportunity to go ahead and use it right away, just based again, on some of the concerns that the city had been hearing in a couple of different neighborhoods. The first example here is on Southeast Waco Place and you can see that street in the aerial right here. The corresponding map from the major streets plan is over here on the left. You can see here’s where we’ve identified that major collector and it transitions to a minor collector and again, that’s where you can see the driveways fronting on that section of the street.
So the idea is that we worked with taking the elements of the plan and then applying them to the situation and then working with city council to show them what could be done. We looked at some intersection pavement markings down here at one of the intersections that was sort of big and wide open and had space to add some markings. We talked about adding on-street parking along some of these longer stretches where this street was previously built wide enough that it could accommodate on-street parking and today it was signed no parking each way. So without that side friction of some parked vehicles that could be leading to some quicker speeds through there.
We talked about some trail crossing markings and then some just traditional crosswalk markings at some of these intersections as well again just to try to get the visual change from just looking a long way down the street of not seeing much into actually seeing some things, maybe getting some driver’s attention maybe even to get them to slow down a little bit. And then we talked about doing these things first, these are sort of the lower impact, lower cost things that we could try and then do some more data collection and if we’re finding that we’re not seeing the reduction in speed that we want to then a future phase could start to be something a little bit more impactful and get into more of the raised crossing choker situation where we’re actually starting to talk about some pavement changes and that comes along with a little extra cost.
Example Intersections with Traffic Calming – Before & After (11:23)
So here’s just an example of one of those intersections that I pointed out. This is the one that’s sort of wide open right now and you can just see as a driver, you’re just looking down the corridor and you don’t have much else to see but the street there. Here’s an aerial view of it on this side. And so we just came in and did some striping. There was space there that we could actually put a couple of left-turn lanes in and really just delineate the space a little bit better, get people to really have to pick a lane, whether they’re turning left or going straight. Added the crosswalk markings and signage. You can just see it’s a really big difference between what was there before and after.
Similar street nearby, so again, we’ve got a collector street part of it being a major collector street, part of it being a minor collector street. Again, with a lot of driveway frontages along this part, you can even see this one here is quite a bit straighter than the previous example that we looked at. So, it really is a straight shot. Very similar to the other street, we talked about some crosswalk markings. We talked about some trail crossing markings. With this one we also talked about doing some new pedestrian crossings, just to help the sidewalk network out a little bit. And then again, similar to the other one, these were the lower cost changes to start with. And then we’ll take some after data, see what that does, and then we’ll come back and do some more impactful things later if need be.
So here’s an example of what I was talking about with that pedestrian network. So you can kind of see right now here’s the sidewalk and curb ramp, curb ramp, here’s the sidewalk, but really this curb ramp doesn’t go anywhere. And this was the case that two or three of the intersections along the street. So we said well as a part of adding in some crosswalk markings, let’s go ahead and just connect the sidewalk network too and that would be an added benefit just for people walking around this area. And so, here’s that really straight shot that I was talking about. Just not a lot to break up your vision down the street, where here now we’ve introduced a few locations where we’ve got some striping and we’ve got some signage. Again, just to try to help break up that visual a little bit.
And with that, I really appreciate you taking the time and checking this session out. Thank you.