We are pleased to introduce a new series, The Placemakers Guide to Transportation, that can help citizens create vibrant streets and transit facilities in their communities. The first installment appears below.

Street Design

Creating streets that are vital public spaces, balance all modes of transportation and foster a sense of community is dependent on a combination of transportation planning strategies that account for the local context of the street, network, and neighborhood. PPS has developed a number of tools and principles that help advocates and residents understand how streets function, the benefits of creating streets as places, as well as the larger impact the transportation system has on the area it serves.

Interested in learning more about creating Streets as Places? We’ve compiled some useful tools in the text below.

The Power of Ten

The Power of Ten creates a simple but profound benchmark for a place, neighborhood, and city: A great place needs to have at least 10 things to do in it or 10 reasons to be there; a great neighborhood needs at least 10 great places; and a great city needs at least 10 great neighborhoods. Streets and transit stops always hold the potential to become places with 10 things to do.

Outdoor events, like this concert at a New Jersey train station, are a great way to bring new life to transit facilities.

PPS/AARP Citizen’s Guides

PPS has produced a number of books focused on educating engaged citizens about various innovative transportation planning strategies as part of a three-part series produced by PPS’s “Building Community through Transportation” campaign and AARP’s “Livable Communities” initiative.  The books can be purchased as hard copies or accessed as a free PDF (on the same page.)

Streets as Places outlines the potential of transforming streets to serve community goals through traffic calming, design measures, amenities, integration of transit and strategies for successful community involvement.

The Quiet Revolution in Transportation Planning: How Great Corridors Make Great Communities describes how planning transportation within the context of a larger corridor can benefit both mobility needs and community quality of life.

A Citizen’s Guide to Better Streets: How to Engage Your Transportation Agency focuses on the role of local transportation agencies in street design and outlines effective ways of interacting with transportation agencies.

FTA Toolkit

In some situations, you need a full toolkit to get the job done.  PPS conducted research for the Federal Transit Administration entitled Developing Public Transportation Tools in Transit Dependent Communities, the outcome of which is a toolkit focused on involving communities more fully in the transportation planning process.  The tools take on many different forms from surveys to assessment maps to route mapping to walking audits. The toolkit will be available shortly; please check back for updates.

One of the tools developed for the FTA study: Destination Mapping.

Qualities of a Great Street

PPS has made a list of the Qualities of a Great Street to help residents think about the core issues that help create successful streets. They range from the importance of programming to creating strong coalitions in the neighborhood to capital projects of varying sizes. A similar article that examines these issues is 9 Great Streets Around the World.

Istanbul, Turkey.

Street Audit

Finally, one of the best ways to learn about how to improve your neighborhood’s streets is to observe them. The Street Audit is the perfect tool to examine the various traits of a given place. Check out the Audit in action in this Streetfilms video of a Brooklyn, NY workshop focusing on Grand Army Plaza. Or, view this great post from the Planning Commissioners Journal on how the street audit can be used to evaluate a public square. To obtain a copy of the street audit, please email info@pps.org.