Building Healthy Streets into Community Design
By DTJ Design Principal Rick Volpe
A healthier development pattern and lifestyle is reflected in current design for the newest villages at Daybreak, a master-planned community outside Salt Lake City. Key is creating walkable and commuter-friendly streets that enable residents to leave their car at home; to walk, ride a bike, or utilize public transit.
Inspired by the grand boulevards of European cities, Daybreak’s major road network incorporates a bike highway and pedestrian system, separated from cars in a tree-lined median that is more efficient, user-friendly and safe. The division helps avoid typical conflicts associated with traditional sidewalks and on-street bike lanes.
The median design limits the number and frequency of median breaks and intersections, decreasing potential bike-car and pedestrian–car conflicts. Where median breaks occur, the island is “raised or table-topped” with special paving to create greater visibility and awareness among drivers and cyclists, pedestrians and joggers. Street width is reduced by eliminating on-street bike lanes and potential hazards with on-street parking.
Planters, seating, and lighting reflect the character of the surrounding Village; while trail/bike route maps, bike repair tools, and water-bottle fill stations, provide a resource and respite for cyclists and pedestrians.
The median also serves an important multi-use function. Varying in size and shape, it incorporates a dedicated running/jogging trail, and areas for parks and open space; including natural drainage areas that support the storm-water drainage and detention system for the larger community.
When complete, the bike highway and pedestrian system will provide an important backbone infrastructure to link individual villages, streets and open space amenities, for great community connection and healthier living!