Design Review Committee

Top 3

Promote pedestrian-scale design of buildings and landscaping that makes walking convenient, safe, and interesting.
Promote site plans that encourage walkability.
Develop a sustainability plan that prioritizes air quality.

Architecture and Site Design

Ensure that architectural and site designs in community centers have been designed for walkability.

Centers that include interesting architecture and intimate outdoor spaces for people encourage active transportation, which helps clean our air.

Tool: Require the following streetscape features in order to create walkable streets: street trees, landscaping, windows, active building frontages, and street furniture.

The proportion of windows on the street, the proportion of active street frontage, and the number of pieces of street furniture contribute to pedestrian activity.[i][ii]




Tool: Locate buildings and their front doors on the street.

A building’s street-facing façade defines the type of environment on the street. Blank walls (without windows or doors) are uninviting to pedestrians and make them feel as if they are not meant to walk there. Buildings with inviting entrances that allow passersby to detect active uses inside the building encourage walking.


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 safer and more comfortable environment for cyclists and pedestrians. People are encouraged to bike and walk more when they feel safe, especially at night. Lighting requirements should also minimize light pollution.


Tool: Develop bicycle parking requirements including long-term bike parking.

Bicycle parking can help elevate bicycling in Provo to become a legitimate and viable transportation option for most trips. Thorough bicycle parking requirements account for both short-term and long-term parking, promote proper siting and layout, and allow for conversion of vehicular parking to bicycle parking.


Tool: Minimize the amount of parking required by new development.

Eliminating minimum parking requirements frees up both land and money for better uses. The construction, maintenance, and land costs associated with providing free or subsidized parking can be used to fund more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly forms of transportation than driving, like public transportation or the construction of bicycle and pedestrian corridors.[iii]



The above graph shows required parking spaces for residences per-occupant, and required parking spaces for office and retail per 1000 square feet of building space.

Case Studies

Promote urban forestry and gardening on city lands, and in neighborhoods.

Plants naturally filter our air and provide us with oxygen. They also provide additional benefits of beautifying neighborhoods, improving walkability, and providing shade to offset summer cooling costs.

Tool: Encourage green roofs.

Green roofs insulate buildings, help absorb some emissions, and add to the visual interest and beauty of urban areas. This reduces building heating and cooling costs, while reducing emissions, and also filtering storm water runoff.[iv]

Case Study

Tool: Form an organization to increase the number of trees in Provo.

An organization whose purpose is to increase the number of trees in Provo’s urban forest can help individuals and neighborhoods access funding for purchasing trees.


Case Study

  • Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco. Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) is a non-profit that provides trees, technical expertise, and labor for neighborhoods and individuals interested in planting street trees. Since 1981, FUF has planted 47% of San Francisco’s total street tree canopy.

Develop a Design Review Committee Sustainability Plan with an emphasis on air.

The Design Review Committee has a key role to play in cleaning our air, and it has expertise how to make an impact. Consider the roles you might fulfill in cleaning the air and develop a departmental plan for sustainability with an emphasis on air quality. Develop a method for tracking and measuring progress, and a process for annual review.

Urban Design and Active Transportation

Create a connected, complete, and safe bicycle and pedestrian system; emphasize navigational simplicity and connecting key neighborhoods, destinations, and transit.

One of the largest reasons commuters do not use active transportation to get to work or school is because they feel it is unsafe, and 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.

Tool: Adopt a “Complete Streets” approach and philosophy that all streets and development on streets be designed and operated to enable 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). Many jurisdictions around the country have adopted Complete Streets policies and national model policies can be used as a starting point. A Complete Streets policy is one effective way to institutionalize the goals of this toolkit within the city.


Case Study

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.[v]



The NACTO Street Design Guide is a general set of guidelines that cities can adapt to their specific streets and situations to create more pleasant street environments that foster all forms of transportation.


Tool: Allow block lengths below 400’.

Block lengths below 400’ increase the pedestrian connectivity and allows for more mobility for cyclists and pedestrians. Traffic capacity also increases when a community has more connected street networks. Large block sizes do not facilitate active transportation.[vi]



These are several examples of connected urban environments from Allan Jacobs’ Great Streets. A denser urban fabric—meaning more connected streets and smaller blocks—leads to more street-level activity and more opportunities to replace automobile trips with other trips.


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 are more likely to illegally cross the street rather than walk to the next intersection. Mid-block crossings increase the comfort and safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.[vii]





[ii] From NACTO Street Design Guide.

[iii] Data from ITE’s Parking Generation, 3rd Edition 2004. Courtesy of Ted Knowlton, Wasatch Front Regional Council.


[v] From NACTO Street Design Guide.

[vi] Image from Allan Jacobs’ Great Streets.

[vii] From NACTO Street Design Guide.