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A Thoughtful Approach to Streetscape Design
A Thoughtful Approach to Streetscape Design

Some of the largest cities in the US; New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago; all have something in common: smart streetscape design. It might not be something you commonly think about, but you and your neighborhood’s streetscape design interact often. The moment you pull out of your driveway or take your dog for a walk, you are taking advantage of your local streetscape. However, a streetscape is much more than the pavement under your feet.

What’s Streetscape?

When considering streetscape, it’s not only your road and sidewalk. A streetscape is a combination of everything visible from the street: lighting, buildings, architecture, greenery, and more. Everything around you contributes to the personality of your neighborhood and thus is part of the overall streetscape design.

What Does an Efficient Streetscape Design Do?

While no two streetscapes are the same, the best-designed ones all contribute to a neighborhood or subdivision in various ways. Civil engineers and landscape architects work together to help streetscape design achieve specific goals, such as:

  • Visually Appealing – Streetscapes often consider the surrounding architecture and make a design that visually compliments already existing structures. The choices in street design could be as simple as more shrubbery or as extensive as different road materials.
  • Safe – A smart streetscape design often ensures the safety of everyone. Wide lanes, buffers between the street and sidewalk, thoughtfully placed streetlights and more all contribute to the wellbeing of drivers and pedestrians alike.
  • Green – Greener incentives push to create a healthier environment for all those living in a neighborhood. Features like LED lighting for street lamps and stoplights contribute to energy-efficiency. Additionally, more vegetation helps to keep the air clean and your lungs healthy.
  • Accommodating – Above all, streetscape design must make it easy to navigate. Features like dual lanes, public transportation, bike lanes, crosswalks and more all make it simple to make it from place to place. A smart streetscape design not only accommodates cars but pedestrians as well.

Features of Excellent Streetscape Design

So, what makes up a streetscape you can admire? There are numerous features you might find part of a well-designed street, like:

  • Pedestrian Features – By creating more curb space, you allow for greater room for pedestrians to walk and interact. This is especially helpful for busy streets lined by businesses. Providing seating, waste disposal, greenery and more encourage people to visit these streetscapes.
  • Bus Access – Allowing for plenty of bus stops, with quick and easy access to businesses, is another great feature of proper streetscape design. Some streets will have dedicated bus lanes, extended curbs for bus stops and other features advantageous to public transport.
  • Speed Control – To minimize car accidents and keep pedestrian safe, streets may have various speed control features. Speed humps, speed cushions and traffic lights all contribute to preventing vehicles from speeding and walkers from getting in harm’s way.
  • Stormwater Management – Keeping rain and storms from impeding travel is another vital aspect of streetscape design. Stormwater management, such as bioswales, flow-through planters and permeable pavement all help keep water flowing away. Also, they integrate water back into the ecosystem cleanly and efficiently.

While these are a few of the main features that contribute to a smart streetscape design, there are plenty of other aspects that add to the health, safety and convenience of your neighborhood’s streets.

The Streetscape Experts

Creating a proper streetscape is no easy feat. However, Austin Engineering has an incredible amount of experience with various streetscape designs. Our civil engineers and landscape architects contribute to the streetscapes of cities throughout all Central Illinois. Moreover, our designs provide greener solutions and present a streetscape that both vehicles and pedestrians can share harmoniously.

To learn more about the work Austin Engineering has done, you can contact us at (309) 228-9552. Also, our Peoria office is located at 311 SW Water St, Ste 215, Peoria, IL 61602.