The Pedestrian Realm
Scale: City, Neighborhood, Building Cluster
Tags: Multi-way boulevards
This pattern was first found as part of what made multiway boulevards work. I now believe it is essential for any living street. Imagine a city where all the streets afford a comfortable and generous pedestrian realm…
City streets serve a dual complex function. They provide for through movement, and they allow access to land uses along them. Both functions are fundamental to the social and economic functions of cities, particularly on major streets. When the through movement overwhelms the slow paced accessibility which is necessarily pedestrian, the street becomes dangerous and unpleasant to live on.
To achieve a workable pedestrian real at least half, but preferably two thirds of the street section should be designed at the pedestrian scale. Cars may park or move within that space, but they should be allowed to move only slowly.
The edge of the pedestrian realm should be marked strongly – preferrably by a continuous line of trees.
Parking within the pedestrian realm could be allowed and even encouraged, it helps to slow movement down, create interaction on the street and provide easier access to the buildings along it.
Within the pedestrian realm car movement should be restricted to one passing lane – otherwise drivers may speed up and destroy the integrity of the realm.
Pedestrian amenities, such as bus stations, kiosks and benches should be located in the boundary area between the pedestrian realm and the movement realm – thus drawing pedestrians to move across it, and take possession of the space
The slow moving nature of the pedestrian realm can be reinforced by a different paving from the through movement realm, and by a slight change in level.