SacCity street design ideas

I have decided to start a series on street design ideas and standards, as a support for the City of Sacramento update of its Street Design Standards, due to occur this calendar year. I would hope that the city would actually engage citizens and transportation experts in the development of the standards, though it is more likely that the city will present a late-draft-stage document for review. In either case, I hope to educate the public about what good street design looks like and functions like, so that they can provide useful input and demand the highest level of design safety and innovation from the city.

The posts will be available under the category ‘Street Design Standards‘. Though this is a subcategory of City of Sacramento, the posts will almost entirely be applicable to any city or county.

First up, existing design standards and concepts. The horrible state of our transportation system is due in large part to the practice of traffic engineers using highway design ideas on urban streets. These designs have encouraged traffic violence, reduced the livability and economic vitality of cities, and created infrastructure that we will never have the funds to properly maintain. And, most importantly, then have killed millions of people and maimed at hundreds of millions more.

If you have not read it yet, I can’t more highly recommend Confessions of a Recovering Engineer by Chuck Marohn, founder of Strong Towns, for a review of the traffic engineering malfeasance and embedded but never explicit values that got us to this point.

There are a number of existing publications and resources for designing streets, some of them useful, and some us them which got us into this mess to begin with. Here are the ones I recommend that the city use, and not use:

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