A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET

A Placemaker's Primer on Road Diets

Jan 31, 2020
Feb 3, 2020
A road diet reallocates a street’s space to better serve the community around it and its full range of users.

The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind a road diet (also known as rightsizing)—reconfiguring the layout of a street to better serve the people who use them, whether they’re commuters driving, shoppers walking, or children bicycling. 

Across the country, communities large and small are achieving impressive safety, mobility, and community outcomes by implementing such reconfigurations. Project for Public Spaces created this road diet resource to highlight the accomplishments of these communities and share best practices. Our transportation team can advise stakeholders and decision-makers, skillfully facilitate a road diet process, and adeptly produce rightsized designs for agencies and community groups.

In this guide you will find information about the process of implementing road diet projects, key terms, and further reading from trusted experts, as well as 10 case studies of successful road diet projects.

How to Implement a Road Diet

Like any placemaking project, a road diet should begin with a process of working with the community to identify a site and goals for the project, before selecting the right tools for the job. These short articles walk you through the process of planning a road diet project and provide an overview of the technical knowledge you need to know to implement it.

  1. The Benefits of Road Diets: Read up on the many benefits of road diets to learn how to make the case to potential funders and partners. 
  2. Selecting a Road Diet Location: Use these criteria to select a street that's ripe for rightsizing. 
  3. Evaluating Road Diet Projects: Start collecting data before you make improvements to measure the value of a road diet.
  4. A Glossary of Road Diet Strategies: Select the right strategies for your street's unique context.
  5. Technical Guidance on Road Diets: Read more from trusted transportation organizations about the latest research and tools.
A road diet transformation on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas.

10 Case Studies of Successful Road Diets

The following case studies show how road diets can contribute to an improved public realm and community wellbeing.

  1. Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan: A pilot road diet on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids, MI, helped build support for a permanent redesign.
  2. East 55th Street, Chicago, Illinois: The multimodal reinvention of East 55th Street in Chicago, IL, makes getting to and from University of Chicago campus faster, easier, and safer.
  3. Greenville Avenue, Dallas, Texas: This four- to two-lane road redesign in Dallas, TX, transformed a high-crime corridor into a walkable, economically vibrant commercial district.
  4. Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina: A fatal pedestrian collision caused community members in Raleigh, NC, to spearhead the redesign of dangerous Hillsborough Street, resulting in decreased vehicle crashes and increased economic development.
  5. Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis, Indiana: The installation of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, IN, truly acknowledges the potential of the trail as an interactive system to provide solutions with people, profit, and planet in mind.
  6. Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa: This cost-effective, four-to-three-lane road re-striping project in Des Moines, IA, resulted in a safer, multimodal corridor, while catalyzing significant redevelopment.
  7. La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego, California: Roundabouts and shortened crossing distances have helped change La Jolla Boulevard in San Diego, CA, from division to destination.
  8. Lancaster Boulevard, Lancaster, California: Supporting the speed limit with street design helped the railroad settlement of Lancaster, CA, transform its old Main Street into the new Lancaster Boulevard, a safer public space, bursting with economic, social, and civic vitality.
  9. Madison Road, Cincinnati, Ohio: A dangerous six-point intersection in the heart of the Cincinnati, OH, neighborhood of Oakley Square left people feeling unsafe walking as well as driving. The redesigned Madison Road is simpler and safer for all users.
  10. Route 62, Hamburg, New York: A rural arterial in the village of Hamburg, NY, supported traffic calming with facade improvements and rezoning for pedestrian-friendly frontages in order to revitalize Main Street.

Get in Touch

If you need any additional information or expertise to accomplish your own road diet project, contact us at transportation@pps.org.

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