The main aim of this guide is to facilitate the creation of streets that promote greater social interaction and enjoyment while still performing successfully as conduits for movement. It is to be used predominantly for the design, construction, adoption and maintenance of new residential streets, but it is also applicable to existing residential streets that are subject to re-design.
Manual for Streets will assist in the creation of streets that:
• help to build and strengthen the communities they serve
• meet the needs of all users, by embodying the principles of inclusive design
• form part of a well-connected network
• are attractive and have their own distinctive identity
• are cost-effective to construct and maintain
• are safe.
It puts well-designed residential streets at the heart of sustainable communities and replaces Design Bulletin 32, first published in 1977, and its companion guide Places, Streets and Movement.
This new manual gives clear guidance on how to achieve well-designed streets and spaces that serve the community. It demonstrates the benefits that flow from good design and places a higher priority on pedestrians and cyclists. It challenges some established working practices and standards and encourages new ways of thinking in relation to creating successful neighbourhoods. It stresses the need for a fundamental culture change in the way streets are designed and adopted, including a more collaborative approach between the design professions and other stakeholders.
Changes in the approach to street design
The main changes in the approach to street design which this guide recommends are:
• applying a user hierarchy to the design process with pedestrians at the top
• emphasising a collaborative approach to the delivery of streets
• recognising the importance of the community function of streets as spaces for social interaction
• promoting an inclusive environment that recognises the needs of people of all ages and abilities
• reflecting and supporting pedestrian desire lines in networks and detailed designs
• developing masterplans and preparing design codes that implement them for larger-scale developments, and using design and access statements for all scales of development
• creating networks of streets that provide permeability and connectivity to main destinations and a choice of routes
• moving away from hierarchies of standard road types based on traffic flows and/or the number of buildings served
• developing street character types on a location-specific basis with reference to both the place and movement functions for each street
• encouraging innovation with a flexible approach to street layouts and the use of locally distinctive, durable and maintainable materials and street furniture
• using quality audit systems that demonstrate how designs will meet key objectives for the local environment
• designing to keep vehicle speeds at or below 20 mph on residential streets unless there are overriding reasons for accepting higher speeds
• using the minimum of highway design features necessary to make the streets work properly.
Better-designed streets will contribute significantly to the quality of the built environment and play a key role in the creation of sustainable, inclusive, mixed communities consistent with the policy objectives of Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development (PPS1), Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) and Planning Policy Wales (PPW).