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State Highways as Main Streets: A Study of Community Design and Visioning

Description: The objectives for this project were to explore community transportation design policy to improve collaboration when state highways serve as local main streets, determine successful approaches to meet the federal requirements for visioning set forth in SAFETEA-LU [23 USC 135(f)(3)(B)(ii)], find ways to assist local agencies in improving their grant applications to WSDOT, identify new ways to translate context sensitive design guidance into practice, and support staff and organizational development by connecting the architecture profession and transportation engineering.

For this study, student researchers participating in University of Washington’s Storefront Studio Program explored a number of community design and visioning methods and techniques, reviewed recent case studies from Washington and other states, and based on findings, developed and field tested a recommended framework for community transportation design when state highways serve as main streets.

This study finds that for WSDOT projects on state highways that were identified as main streets (inside cities), some scope and schedule adjustments may be avoided by applying a greater degree of community design consideration in systems analysis and project development, resulting in a potential overall savings for the agency.

  • Date Published: October, 2009
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 733.1
  • Last Modified: November 13, 2009
  • Authors: Jim Nicholls, William Payne, Claire Gear, Jessica Miller.
  • Originator: Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
  • # of Pages: 35 p., 9.0 MB (PDF)
  • Subject: Arterial highways, Context sensitive design, Streetscape, Architecture, Planning and design, City planning, Public participation, Federal laws, Highway design, Transportation planning.
  • Keywords: Main streets, community design, project delivery.
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This abstract was last modified January 22, 2013