This article from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) announces the new street manual, Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: Designing a Context-Sensitive Solutions Approach, prepared together by CNU and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). The goal of this document was to create a manual that, instead of being based simply on moving cars as fast as possible, is focused on creating complete streets that are context-sensitive and allow for all modes of transport as well as urban development. It is transect-based, and has different street designs that are appropriate for each transect. Some of the important changes made to this document are:
- Ensuring that operating speed and design speed are the same (The fact that these are not the same is why people go 50 miles per hour in 35 zones. Unless people are under strict supervision or in traffic, they will drive as fast as they feel safe).
- The elimination of highways, which shouldn’t exist in urban areas.
- The change from “Major” to “Walkable” in the title, showing that the focus of this new manual is walkability.
- A section on emergency response that was co-authored by former Milwaukee fire captain Neil Lipski.
One of the greatest parts of this news release is that there is already a city working to apply the standards of this new manual: Elgin, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Hopefully this will help Elgin to create more context-sensitive streets, and it will help CNU and ITE to learn what of their recommendations work and which ones may need further revising. Part of the effort to work with Elgin included this great slideshow for the participants: