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Dallas Complete Streets Design Manual Draft July 2012

Dallas Complete Streets Design Manual Draft July 2012

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Published by: Robert Wilonsky on Aug 04, 2012
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street zone design guidelines

chapter Five

JUNE2012 dallas complEtE strEEts dEsigN maNUal | 119

the organization and distribution of right-of-way has a profound effect on safety, roadway capacity, and how

comfortable and convenient transportation modes are relative to each other. In the past, the Thoroughfare Plan

was the primary driver of roadway design in Dallas. The focus was on moving motor vehicles safely and efficiently. A

complete streets approach takes a more comprehensive view of the street and all users. In a complete street zone,

the space typically between curbs supports adjacent land uses, and balances the efficiency of motor vehicle travel

with considerations for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users.

The example cross sections in Chapter 2 identify primary and secondary priorities within the cross section for each

street type. Since there is significant variation in how each street cross section can be configured, these priorities are

intended to help direct decisions with respect to roadway design, particularly in constrained rights-of-way where ideal

widths cannot be met. This chapter provides further design guidance on specific elements within the traveled way.

Ross - Typical Section – Future (Option B)

street zone

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chapter Five

poliCY GuidanCe

1. Multimodal Streets – The design of the traveled
way should include considerations for every mode.
Street space will be optimized to balance the needs
of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists,
and will not be dominated by cars.

2. Safety is a Paramount Concern – Even if one mode is
given priority within a street type, the design cannot
compromise the safety of any mode for the benefit
of another mode. The safety of vulnerable users is
particularly important, as they are at greater risk when
crashes occur.

3. Design for Slower Speeds – The safety and comfort
of pedestrians and bicyclists is negatively impacted
by fast motor vehicle traffic. For street types oriented
to pedestrian and bicycle travel, motor vehicle speeds
should be slower. A wide variety of roadway design
strategies can help to reduce motor vehicle speeds
without causing undue frustration for drivers – these
are discussed in this chapter.

4. Street Design should Reinforce Adjacent
Land Uses – The design of the traveled way should
complement and reinforce adjacent uses. This
approach can help to increase property values and
foot traffic to local businesses.

safe speeds

Streets in Dallas will be designed to limit excessive

vehicular speeds. Managing vehicular speed is

particularly important on streets where pedestrian and

bicycle use is desired. In crashes involving these more

vulnerable users, vehicular speed at the point of impact

is directly related to pedestrian or bicyclist survival. For

example, a pedestrian who is hit by a motor vehicle

traveling at 20 mph has a 95% chance of survival,

whereas a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle traveling at

40 mph has a 15% chance of survival. Studies have also

shown that motor vehicle crashes decline where roadway

speed is reduced. In addition, drivers are far more likely

to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks when speeds are


Mixed Use, Residential Streets, and Industrial Streets

in Dallas should be designed for a target design speed

of 25 miles per hour. The context of an individual street

should factor into whether or not adjustments to this

base design speed are appropriate. Target design

speed will be lower at intersections and crossings. The

City of Dallas Public Works Department will make final

determinations on the target design speed for specific

roadway projects.

For major roadway construction and reconstruction

projects, the geometric design of the roadway should

be such that excessive speeds feel uncomfortable.

This can be accomplished through a creative approach

to roadway design. Curves (chicanes) should be

street design should strive for clear sight
lines between pedestrians and drivers.

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incorporated, long vistas should be broken with vertical

elements such as street trees, and traffic calming

features should be introduced.

The following speed-reduction strategies will be

considered for traveled way design on Dallas roadways

and are discussed in more detail on the pages that


• Lane Widths

• Road Diets

• Center medians/islands

• Bikeways

• Transit Lanes

• Cycle Tracks

• On-Street Parking

• Paving treatments

• Shared Streets

• Chicanes

• Speed Tables

• Street Lighting

road diets


There are many streets in Dallas that are wider than

necessary given the volume of traffic they carry during

peak hours. “Road diets” are therefore a solution that

can be useful on a wide variety of roads throughout

Dallas. A road diet reduces the number of travel lanes

on a roadway, typically removing one lane of traffic in

each direction. The reduction of travel lanes provides

additional space for expanded sidewalks, bike lanes, or


Road diets not only provide additional space necessary

to build a complete street, they also provide measurable

safety benefits to all users. Research has shown that

road diets reduce total crashes from 81% to 53%. Road

diets are officially recognized by the Federal Highway

Administration as a proven safety countermeasure. In a

January 2012 memorandum, FHWA Division offices were

advised to advance the use of road diets with their State

DOT counterparts.


Road diets are an important measure in the

implementation of complete streets principles in

Dallas. The following issues should be considered when

reducing travel lanes on streets:

• Four-lane roads with average daily traffic volumes
up to 20,000, and six-lane roads with up to 30,000
vehicles per day are candidates for road diet
treatments. A capacity analysis may be necessary to
ensure the reduction of travel lanes does not create

road diets and medians are used to reduce
excess travel lane capacity.

clearly marked crosswalks and bulb-outs
increase pedestrian safety.

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significant delays for motor vehicles.

• On four-lane undivided roadways, road diets typically
remove two travel lanes and convert the road to
a two-lane road with a center-turn lane and bike
lanes. In Dallas, however, many of the roads that are
eligible for road diets already have left turn lanes,
thus the additional space can be used for buffered
bike lanes, transit lanes, and expanded streetscape

• Some road diets will be implemented as a part of
the roadway repaving/reconstruction process, as this
offers an opportunity to reconfigure the roadway with
new pavement markings.


• Particular to the individual project, a thoroughfare
plan amendment might be necessary.

• Road diets require special attention to public
involvement of surrounding communities. Gaining
public support is a key aspect in the success of a road

• A low-cost road diet reconfigures existing roadway
space and does not involve curb reconstruction.
While sidewalk width remains the same, these
types of road diets still benefit pedestrians due to
the increased buffer between the sidewalk and the
nearest motor vehicle travel lane.

• Road diets may require a thoroughfare plan

• Where road diets are implemented through the
repaving/reconstruction process, consideration
should be given to the long-term maintenance needs

of the resulting bike lanes. They will need periodic
maintenance to remove debris and ensure they are
usable facilities.

• Road diet projects require careful attention to motor
vehicle capacity issues at intersections.



A couplet is a pair of one-way parallel streets, typically

separated by one city block. The area between each

direction of travel is developed and can serve a variety of



Couplets are designed to have a higher vehicle capacity

than an equivalent two-way street, and therefore could

be considered as an alternative to widening a two-way

thoroughfare. This may be a beneficial option when

trying to preserve pedestrian space, trees and other

aesthetic features.

Protected left-turn signal phasing and center turn lanes

are not required on one-way couplets. Conversion of a

two-way street to a couplet may provide space for other

street zone elements within the same right-of-way as the

two-way option.

A grid with one-way couplets may benefit the

development of a retail or office district rather than

along a single dominant two-way street.

road diet with bulb-outs

road diet with median

street zone design guidelines

JUNE 2012 dallas complEtE strEEts dEsigN maNUal | 123


One-way couplets increase intersection green time and uninterrupted flow

of traffic. The potential increase in travel speed should be mitigated in areas

with heavy pedestrian use.

Narrowing the travelway of a one-way couplet street provides opportunities

for shorter and safer pedestrian crossings.

Streets with lower traffic volumes may not demand the use of one-way


slip streets

Slip streets are local roads running parallel to higher speed limited access

roads. Slip streets are located between the arterial and developed land and

are often used where a major road passes through an urban area and may

provide access to private driveways, shops, or houses. A good example is

Northwest Highway east of Preston Road.

Slip streets reduce conflict points between through traffic and turning

traffic associated with direct property access to the arterial. These streets

also reduce conflict points on the arterial, increasing roadway safety and

operations. This roadway configuration also improves compatibility between

high capacity arterials and lower intensity contexts.


Slip streets are successfully used to separate local traffic from through traffic.

Slip streets are most effective on relatively heavily traveled, higher speed

arterials. Opportunities to construct slip streets are generally restricted to

pearl street- typical section - Existing conditions

pearl street- typical section- Future

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locations where there is substantial spacing between

intersecting roads, little if any existing development,

and a development plan. Retrofit may be possible

where developed properties have large setbacks or

redevelopment of existing uses is occurring.


• Separation between arterials and slip streets should
be carefully planned to reduce conflict areas of
vehicles entering and exiting the roadways.

• Slip streets provide improved access to individual
properties, which may in turn increase value and
potential of adjacent properties

• The disadvantage to a slip street is the need to move
the intersection of it and cross streets away from the

• Slip streets require a larger area of space dedicated
to roadways, and increase the distance pedestrians
have to cross roadways.

• Slip lanes diverted away from the central roadway
at cross streets increase separation and reduce the
complexity of the intersection.

• This design concept significantly affects the
placement of buildings at intersection corners.

center medians/islands


Medians are raised barriers in the center portion of the

roadway. Median width can vary greatly, from a minimum

of 6’ to 20’ or more along parkways and light rail transit

lines. Medians with street trees (or other landscaping)

can be used to add prominence to a segment of road,

extend a park-like environment along a corridor, and to

reduce the heat island effect. Medians can also provide a

location for transit and a refuge for pedestrians crossing

multi-lane roadways. Studies show that intermittent

(midblock) islands can result in up to a 7% reduction in

motor vehicle speeds.

Dallas has many streets with concrete medians, however

these were mainly constructed to channelize turning

movements and to control access to adjacent land uses.

Through a complete streets approach, medians on

Dallas roadways should be pedestrian-friendly, reduce

travel speeds, and should provide landscaping whenever



• Medians are particularly helpful as pedestrian refuges
at controlled and uncontrolled crossings. When
designed properly, medians offer protection to
pedestrians crossing the road.

• The minimum width for a center median is six feet.
This width is necessary to ensure the median serves
as an adequate pedestrian refuge. A wider median is
necessary if it will serve a dual purpose as a left turn
lane, to accommodate both the width of a turn lane
as well as adequate space for the pedestrian refuge.

Bike lane with parallel parking

slip lanes, such as this one along Blackburn,
slow traffc adjacent to the pedestrian zone.

street zone design guidelines

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Bicycle Facilities


Bike Lane

Shared Roadway

Left Side Bike Lane

Marked Shared Lane

Buffered Bike Lane

Priority Shared Lane

Climbing Bike Lane

Shared Bus/Bike Lanes

Contra-Flow Bike Lane

Bicycle Boulevard

Cycle Track

Shared Use Path

• Signalized intersections with medians should be
designed to allow pedestrians to cross the entire
roadway during a single signal cycle.

• Pedestrian cuts through medians should be of at
least equal width to the approaching sidewalks. At
midblock locations, consider angling the pedestrian
cut to direct pedestrian sightlines to on-coming traffic.

• Care should be taken to ensure median plantings do
not limit the sightlines for pedestrians and motorists
at intersections.


Center medians should be carefully designed to ensure

proper drainage and maximize potential for on-site

stormwater retention and filtration. Drought-resistant

and low-maintenance plant species should be used.

Sidewalks should not be reduced in width and bike lanes

should not be eliminated to provide space or additional

width for medians.

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