Transportation and Urban Form
Promote a transit system and active transit infrastructure designed to serve mixed-use centers and connect residents with destinations.
Historically, Utah was planned around a close-knit network of communities up and down the Wasatch Front. This pattern of centers brought important destinations close to residents in the pre-automobile age. Building on this network and expanding it to greenfield areas is critical to shortening and eliminating vehicle trips. Commercial, civic, religious, retail, and educational centers built around existing cores, and planned for future core areas, will bring daily needs within walking distance of most city residents.
Tool: Identify appropriate node locations and size to create “20 minute neighborhoods.”
Commercial nodes can be identified through a community’s master plan. Walkable districts usually have nodes between ¼ and ½ of a mile wide. Smaller commercial centers provide more bicycle and pedestrian access.[i]
- Introduction to “20 minute neighborhoods” http://www.icic.org/connection/blog-entry/blog-the-rise-of-the-20-minute-neighborhood
Tool: Rezone underutilized commercial property between nodes to other uses.
Economic development can be fostered through the rezoning of underutilized commercial property. Rezoning encourages the reuse and revitalization of nodes. As store spaces become available, they can be repurposed for other uses, and preserved as centers, with adequate access for the neighborhoods they serve.
Tool: Minimize the amount of parking required by new development.
By reducing minimum parking requirements both land and money could be freed up for better uses. The construction, maintenance, and land costs associated with providing free or subsidized parking could be used to fund more energy-efficient forms of transportation than driving, like public transportation.[ii]
- Parking requirement legislation, California. California passed legislation in October, 2015, “which allows affordable housing developers to build less parking than many local zoning regulations currently permit.” Affordable housing advocates have long claims that burdensome parking requirements have made affordable housing too expensive to build. http://cal.streetsblog.org/2015/10/12/governor-brown-signs-bill-loosening-parking-requirements-for-affordable-housing/
- No minimum parking requirement, Arkansas. The City of Fayettville, Arkansas, adopted a change to the parking code that completely eliminated minimum parking requirements for nonresidential properties. This allows businesses to consider their parking needs based on market demand, rather than city code requirements. http://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2015/10/07/fayetteville-eliminates-minimum-parking-requirements/
Tool: Designate pedestrian-oriented overlay districts.
Pedestrian zones encourage the development of pedestrian friendly commercial districts. Residents should be able to access services conveniently without having to drive. Districts require commercial uses at the ground floor that cater to pedestrians. Districts also have lower parking requirements and limited driveways in order to encourage new development that gives priority to pedestrian friendly streetscapes.
- Pedestrian overlay zones in the Seattle Land Use Code http://www.seattle.gov/Transportation/pedestrian_masterplan/pedestrian_toolbox/tools_pluz_zoning.htm
Encourage higher density and transit-oriented development, smaller block sizes, and higher density of intersections.
People are more likely to use active and public transportation if there are small blocks, a high number of street intersections, and high residential densities. These improvements to the urban environment influence travel behavior and can result in reduced emissions from vehicles by reducing trip distances and frequency.
Tool: Encourage transit-oriented development zones in appropriate locations.
Transit-oriented developments (TOD) encourage moderate and high density housing near a transit site. TOD’s create an environment that is conducive to walking, biking, and using public transit. TOD’s see reduced traffic congestion and accidents and expanded mobility of cyclists and pedestrians.[iii]
- Introduction to Transit-oriented developments. http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/what-we-do/what-is-tod/
Tool: Consider requiring a maximum block length of 400’.
Block lengths below 400’ increase the pedestrian connectivity of an area and increases mobility for cyclists and pedestrians. Traffic capacity also increases when a community has a more connected street network. Large block sizes do not facilitate active transportation.
- Measuring Network Connectivity for Bicycling and Walking. http://reconnectingamerica.org/assets/Uploads/TRB2004-001550.pdf
Tool: Require mid-block crossings on longer blocks.
Midblock crossings allow people to travel to places that are otherwise not served by the existing pedestrian network. If formal crossings are too far apart, pedestrians will illegally cross the street rather than walk to the next intersection. Mid-block crossings increase pedestrian and bicyclist comfort and safety.[iv]
- National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Street Design Guide: http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/intersection-design-elements/crosswalks-and-crossings/midblock-crosswalks/
Tool: Require a connectivity index for new streets.
A Connectivity Index can be used to quantify how well a roadway network connects destinations. While a traditional Connectivity Index measures motorized transportation networks, other indexes take into account non-motorized shortcuts, such as paths that connect cul-de-sacs, and barriers such highways and roads that lack sidewalks.
- Roadway Connectivity from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm116.htm
Improve transit ridership through increased accessibility.
Tool: Prioritize bicycle and pedestrian routes near and around transit stops.
Bicycle and routes near transit stops help solve “first and last mile” challenges.
- Report on integrating biking and walking with transit and federal transit funds that can support such programs. http://www.advocacyadvance.org/docs/FirstMileLastMile_August2014_web.pdf
Tool: Conduct a feasibility study to determine the best starting point for implementing a bike share system in Provo.
Bike share systems can be a powerful tool in improving first mile and last mile connectivity of transit trips. In less dense areas, bike share has shown the ability to expand the reach of transit while in denser areas, bike share has actually replaced some transit trips.[v]
Above is a map of GREENBike stations in downtown Salt Lake City.
- Greenbike, Salt Lake City. Greenbike 2014 Annual Report https://configuringgreenbike.bcycle.com/docs/librariesprovider32/default-document-library/2014-annual-report.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Tool: Work with UTA for 15-minute trip intervals and protected and well-marked stations.
Decreasing wait times for transit passengers shows a commitment to helping clear our air by reducing private vehicle use.
Create connected, complete, and safe bicycle and pedestrian systems.
Two important reasons commuters do not use active transportation to get to work or school is because (1) they feel it is unsafe, and (2) the sidewalk and bike lane networks are not continuous or well-maintained. It is important to develop complete alternative transportation networks in order for them to be useful and used by commuters. These networks should emphasize navigational simplicity and connecting key neighborhoods, destinations, and transit.
Tool: Adopt a “Complete Streets” policy. Work with UDOT to do the same on state roads.
A “Complete Streets” approach to road design is one which prioritizes safe access for all users, ages, and abilities. Complete streets policies direct transportation planners and engineers to consistently design streets with all users in mind (drivers, transit riders, pedestrians, bicyclists, the elderly, children, and people with disabilities).
- Introduction to the National Complete Streets Coalition http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets
- Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook: http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/cs-local-policy-workbook.pdf
- Bicycle Count, Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City adopted a Complete Streets ordinance in 2010.[vi] The City’s second annual bicycle count reveals exciting results. After investing in approximately 50 lane miles of on-street bicycle facilities, the number of people riding bikes is up 27% over last year’s count. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705393573/Bike-count-shows-jump-in-cyclists.html
Tool: Develop a comprehensive and context-sensitive Urban Street Design Guide that addresses safe crossings, intersections and linear treatments.
State and local roadway design manuals typically focus on the automobile. Revised roadway design guides that focus on accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians can dramatically improve what can be built.[vii]
- NACTO Urban Street Design Guide. http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/
- Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. http://www.rtcsnv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/03-14-13-rtc-Item-26-Complete-Streets-Design-Guidelines.pdf
Tool: Develop bicycle parking requirements including long-term bike parking.
Bicycle parking minimizes the hassle and inconvenience of searching for a secure and safe place to lock one’s bicycle when arriving at one’s destination. By eliminating inconvenience and barriers, bicycle parking can elevate bicycling towards becoming a legitimate and viable transportation option for most trips in Provo.
- The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Bicycling Parking Guidelines: http://www.apbp.org/?page=publications
- Bicycle Parking Requirements, Salt Lake City. http://bikeslc.com/GetInvolved/MasterPlansandPolicies/Required%20Bicycle%20Parking.html
- Bicycle Parking Ordinance, San Francisco. http://www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/ordinances13/o0183-13.pdf
Tool: Require or promote end of trip facilities (such as changing rooms or showers) for bicyclists and pedestrians at places of employment or at shared locations in dense employment areas.
Commuters who bicycle or walk to work can often arrive wet, muddy or sweaty. In order to make walking or cycling to work viable for many employees, showers and changing facilities (either on-site or close to work) are a necessary amenity.
- LEED Requirements for Showers and Changing Facilities. Many LEED certifications including LEED BD+C, LEED ND, and LEED CI include requirements for showers and changing facilities. http://www.usgbc.org/node/2614413?return=/credits/new-construction/v4
- Indy Bike Hub, Indianapolis. The Indy Bike Hub is a partnership between the City of Indianapolis, the YMCA, Bicycle Garage Indy (a local bike shop). Situated on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Bike Hub provides an ideal location for downtown employees to shower, change and store their bicycles. Other amenities such as a full service bike shop and exercise gym are also present on-site. http://indybikehub.org/
Tool: Establish a connectivity retrofit plan to address existing developments.
Some existing neighborhoods are not well-connected to the transportation network. This may be due to current bus routes or bike paths, but more commonly is due to street network design. A retrofit plan would accommodate for future intersections to connect disconnected blocks, linkages through the ends of cul-de-sacs, pedestrian and bike thru-ways, and accommodations for public transit. Creating direct routes makes it easier for people to get around by promoting biking and walking, while it decreases emergency response time and garbage collection costs.
Tool: Require a physical separation between the sidewalk and street using things like park strips, on-street parking, or paved tree grates.
Streetscape requirements that provide physical separation between pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles create a safe and walkable environment. Street trees provide shade and separation from automobiles and help to calm traffic. On-street parking provides a buffer for cyclists and pedestrians.[viii]
- NACTO Urban Street Design Guide. http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/
Tool: Maintain an up-to-date bicycle and pedestrian master plan to coordinate connectivity of trails, bikeways, and pedestrian facilities.
Maintaining an up-to-date master plan helps to ensure pedestrian friendly policies and design within future development. Updating the city’s master plan allows the city to build on past successes while developing a future guide for new visions and policies. Provo currently has a Bicycle Master Plan which was adopted in September of 2013. The City should also consider developing a Pedestrian Master Plan to complement the existing Bicycle Master Plan.
- Utah Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Design Guide http://www.choosehealth.utah.gov/documents/pdfs/Utah_Bike_Ped_Guide.pdf
Tool: Provide lighting along streets, trails, and public spaces to promote safety.
The use of appropriate lighting along sidewalks, crosswalks, and public spaces creates a safe and comfortable environment for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian-scale lighting promotes safety by calming traffic, illuminating bikeways, and discouraging criminal activity. People are encouraged to bike and walk more when they feel safe, especially at night. Lighting requirements should also minimize light pollution.
- Seattle Pedestrian Lighting Citywide Plan http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedestrian_masterplan/docs/PedLightingFINAL.pdf
Tool: Require pedestrian connectivity through the end of cul-de-sacs.
Cul-de-sacs often force people to take an unnecessarily long route to their destination because there is no direct access through the end of a cul-de-sac. For example, a child’s school may be within 100 yards of their home (as the crow flies), but instead of walking to school, children must be driven half a mile in a car because their street dead-ends.
A good example of school route pedestrian connectivity, with many access points and no cul-de-sacs.
A poor example of school route pedestrian connectivity, with limited access and dead-end cul-de-sacs.
- Cul-de-sac connections, California. Davis, California, requires that cul-de-sacs connect bicycle/pedestrian corridors. “Davis streets shall be connected with multiple route options for bike and pedestrian travel in new and developed areas. Cul-de-sacs are allowed provided they connect to bicycle/pedestrian corridors.” (from the Davis General Plan) http://cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=4809
Tool: Develop a comprehensive wayfinding system for bicyclists and pedestrians.
New signage provides the same navigational infrastructure for pedestrians as is provided for vehicle traffic on freeways. This would not only encourage people to use active transportation by facilitating pathway finding, but would also make visitors more comfortable, giving foot and bike traffic equal prominence to vehicular traffic.[ix]
- Legible London wayfinding system, England. http://content.tfl.gov.uk/legible-london-evaluation-summary.pdf
Tool: Develop mapping and resources that assist bicyclists and pedestrians in route planning.
Mapping and information regarding safe routes, major destinations, bike parking, and other information can help bicyclists and pedestrians feel more comfortable navigating the city.
Ensure that active transportation is measured and appropriately valued within overall transportation planning metrics.
Accounting for active transportation in transportation planning is a prerequisite to achieving goals of increasing active transportation.
Tool: Develop an annual report describing active transportation metrics.
Tracking significant active transportation criteria including pedestrian/bicycling counts, commute to work mode share, funds invested in facilities and programs, number of miles of facilities constructed, collision and health data can help to track the benefits of bicycling and walking within a community.
- San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: https://www.sfbike.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Annual-Report-2013-web.pdf
Tool: Develop a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian counting methodology to track progress and quantify benefits.
Counting methodology can help secure more bicycling and walking amenities and prioritize infrastructure improvements. Counts can observe the behavior of cyclists and pedestrians.
- Manual Count Program in Seattle, Washington http://www.downtownseattle.com/resources/pedestrian-counts/
- Automatic Count Program in Arlington County, Virginia http://departments.arlingtonva.us/des/
Tool: Use metrics beyond vehicular LOS to assess new roadway projects.
Tools such as Multi-modal Level of Service (MMLOS), Bicycle level of service (BLOS), or Pedestrian level of service (PLOS) can be used to track the success of new roadway projects.
Tool: Partner with schools and the Transportation Department to develop safe routes for children to bike and walk to and from school on developed bike lanes and sidewalks with monitored crosswalks.
Work with the Department of Transportation to ensure that safety is prioritized in finding routes for children to walk and bike to school.
- Safe Routes to School National Partnership report on promoting active transportation http://www.saferoutespartnership.org/sites/default/files/pdf/The_Final_Active_Primer.pdf
Reconsider parking requirements in order to promote alternative forms transportation.
Some building requirements distort real estate markets and subsidize automobile traffic. Current minimum parking requirements and “free” parking both force developers and business owners to subsidize driving habits. They also use up land that would otherwise be free for higher value uses. Consider advocating for ordinances which allow the market to determine driving and reduce instances of cars parked and idling.
Tool: Allow parking pricing to represent true costs.
“Free” parking encourages excessive driving, which pollutes our air and costs us money in healthcare and lost productivity. It also wastes land on lower value uses, constraining availability of remaining land and driving up real estate costs. UCLA Urban Planning Professor Donald C. Shoup estimates that the value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in the U.S. in 2002.[x]
- “Free Parking Comes at a Price”, Tyler Cowen, The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/business/economy/15view.html?_r=0
Develop stronger anti-idling messaging/signage, or even bans in problem areas.
Areas like drive-throughs, school drop-off zones, truck stops, etc. are especially susceptible to emission spikes from idling. Stronger anti-idling messaging can help reduce emissions.
- Anti-idling laws, Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City currently has anti-idling laws, where within city limits, it is illegal to idle a vehicle. In Utah, the Idle Free campaign has partnered with 65 schools that now have signage to remind parents and visitors to turn their engines off. Since 2010, when Governor Gary R. Herbert declared September Idle Free Awareness Month, over 35 mayors and 300 schools have joined the effort to be Idle Free. Individuals can pick up free window stickers to spread the message about Idle Free Utah, and organizations can also pick up signs to be put outside in their parking lots to mark idle free zones.[xi]
[i] From Plan Melbourne. http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/Plan-Melbourne
[ii] Data from ITE’s Parking Generation, 3rd Edition 2004. Courtesy of Ted Knowlton, Wasatch Front Regional Council.
[iii] Image from Reconnecting America. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ractod/3953863528
[iv] From NACTO Street Design Guide. http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/intersection-design-elements/crosswalks-and-crossings/midblock-crosswalks/
[v] From GREENBike, Salt Lake City. https://greenbikeslc.org/station-map
[vii] From NACTO Street Design Guide. http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/streets/neighborhood-main-street/
[viii] From NACTO Street Design Guide. http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/street-design-elements/sidewalks/
[ix] From Mayor Curtis’ Provo Insider website. http://provomayor.com/2013/05/07/way-finding-signs/