Managing Shared Pedestrian/Vehicular Spaces

Functional urban streets typically include areas where vehicles and pedestrians must directly interact. For such streets to be transit supportive, a variety of tools can be used to manage traffic flow, provide information to both motorists and pedestrians, and create comfortable spaces. The following should be considered for any streets where pedestrians must navigate areas of vehicular circulation or traffic flow.

Traffic Calming

Managing the speed of traffic flow is an important consideration in creating a quality pedestrian environment. Municipalities and agencies should consider the design of the roadway and its supporting components for fostering safe and efficient vehicular operations. On Pace transit routes, traffic-calming techniques should be weighed against the transit vehicle’s ability to navigate traffic and maintain efficient service speeds.

  • Varying lane widths and meandering roadway geometries force motorists to slow down and be more aware of the street environment.
  • Textured roadway materials call attention to unique areas through a different feel and sound as motorists drive through.
  • Speed tables provide at-grade pedestrian crossings that require slow vehicle speeds and increase visibility between pedestrians and motorists.
  • On-street parking slows traffic through the inherent actions of parking vehicles and opening car doors.
Road Diet
Intersection Bumpouts
Midblock Bulbout
Intersection Bulbout
On-street Parking Both Sides
Intersection Roundabout

Signage and Information

Information is critical to safe vehicular operation and pedestrian movement. Transit supportive streets should provide clear information for both motorists and pedestrians. The following techniques are available to municipalities and agencies.

  • Pedestrian crossing signals should be installed at every signalized intersection. At a minimum, pedestrian signals should include “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” lights, but should also include countdown timers, especially on roadways that are more than 35’ in width.
  • Curbside or median pedestrian signs can be used to call attention to crossing locations and slow vehicular traffic.
  • Pedestrian crosswalk warning systems including highly-visible signage and flashing lights in the roadway that alert motorists to the presence of pedestrians. The lights are generally triggered by a crossing button activated from the public sidewalk. These systems are most effective at mid-block crossings, or at any crossing that lacks traffic signals or stop signs but may be a popular location for pedestrian crossing.
  • Crosswalk painting designs vary based on municipality and context. Designs should be chosen based on visibility to oncoming motorists. Single parallel lines tend to be difficult to see for motorists. However, “cross-hatch” or “ladder” patterns are more visible for motorists.

Pedestrian Comfort

Comfort, in addition to functionality and safety, is an important consideration in a transit supportive environment. The design of the public realm can create a more comfortable environment by reducing the areas shared by pedestrians and motorists, creating better buffers between vehicular and pedestrian areas, or providing more attractive urban spaces. The following tools should be considered in transit supportive areas:

  • Landscape zone between sidewalks and vehicular traffic
  • On-street parking
  • Hardscape elements and street furniture
  • Sidewalk bulb-outs that reduce crossing distances

Managing Shared Pedestrian/Vehicularspaces Implementation Checklist

Guideline PrinciplesImplementation Tools
Traffic Calming
Use lane widths and geometries to reduce traffic speeds and enhance pedestrian safetyLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Use textured roadway materials to call motorist’s attention to unique areasLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Install speed tables in at-grade pedestrian crossings that require slow vehicle speeds and increase pedestrian visibilityLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Plan on-street parking, which slows traffic through the inherent actions of parking vehicles and opening car doorsLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Signage and Information
Install pedestrian crossing signals at every signalized intersectionLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Install pedestrian crossing warning systems where appropriateLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Use highly visible pedestrian crosswalk painting designLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Pedestrian Comfort
Utilize curb bump-outs, pedestrian refuge islands, and clearly delineated crosswalksLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards