Transit Planning
Streetcar Project Urban Design Principles and Guidelines
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Please see below to review the urban design guidelines and goals for the streetcar corridor.

Principles (Created April 5, 2005)

  1. Respond to and strengthen the character of defined neighborhoods, districts or sub-areas for each stop.
  2. Encourage transit infrastructure and stops to serve as a community amenity.
  3. Create visual and functional continuity through a system-wide design.
  4. Minimize physical disruption to the built environment of the proposed alignment.
  5. Promote the transit corridor to also serve as a pedestrian greenway.

    Principle 1: Respond to and strengthen the character of defined neighborhoods, districts or sub-areas 
    for each stop. 


  • Promote the preservation of the unique and desirable characteristics of each neighborhood, district and sub-area.
  • Design stops and line segments that respond to and preserve the important cultural, natural and historic resources.
  • Utilize materials, signage, streetscape and street furniture which relate visually to the existing environment and adopted plans.
  • Promote pedestrian connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods, districts and sub-areas through enhanced streetscape improvements to the stops.
  • Identify existing destinations and potential development opportunities and provide for service to and from those destinations.

    Principle 2: Encourage transit infrastructure and stops to serve as a community amenity. 


  • Promote a mix of uses and public spaces that draw the full spectrum of the area's diverse community and its visitors together.
  • Encourage uses that engage pedestrians and generate an active environment.
  • Provide outdoor public places to sit, eat, meet friends, read and enjoy the weather, shop, learn, play, browse, live, and work together.
  • Provide visibility into street-level interiors for shopping and browsing.
  • Plan for complementary land uses adjacent to stops.
  • Plan for sufficient density to support social and economic vitality.
  • Promote high-quality design in the architecture and urban design of stops for comfort, convenience, function and clarity.
  • Create an identity at the stops that unifies neighborhoods, districts or sub-areas.
  • Determine system as a background or foreground element. 
    • Determine if the streetcar system should blend into the surrounding architecture or if the system should stand out as a more unique element.
  • Identify opportunities for public art enhancement.
    • Encourage ties to the history of different neighborhoods, districts or sub-areas through public art. 
    • Integrate images and designs which articulate the character of the place.
    • Facilitate participation of Arts and Science Council in the process.
    • Identify specific opportunities for artist involvement.
    • Integrate art into the system elements rather than as freestanding elements.

    Principle 3: Create visual and functional continuity through a system-wide design. 


  • Design a system-wide identity/image through repetition of system elements as a means to maintain visual continuity from one neighborhood, district, or sub-area to another.
    • Use similar design elements. (e.g. light poles, signage, seating, shelter design, street furniture, etc.)
  • Promote coordination of system elements with future projects and sub-area plans to strengthen unified design solutions along the corridor.
  • Design a system which is efficient, safe, convenient, understandable and easy to use.
    • Provide shelter from inclement weather and natural elements at stop locations.
    • Provide ADA accessibility.
    • Provide a safe, secure well lit environment at the station locations and in areas of pedestrian activity leading to the stations.
      • Avoid places for concealment (hedges, large shrubs, above ground transformers, signage, and shelters that are not transparent).
      • Provide lighting and sidewalk improvements at identified street, sidewalk and parking areas adjacent to stations.
    • Integrate pedestrian and bike circulation improvements.
    • Develop distinctive and easily recognizable facilities and signage.
  • Integrate transportation modes to promote cross use of transit facilities.

    Principle 4: Minimize physical disruption to the built environment of the proposed alignment. 


  • Minimize construction period impacts to adjacent land uses and circulation systems.
  • Minimize construction impacts (and costs) to adjacent utility systems
  • Align track to best accommodate transit riders, adjacent activities, and proposed development areas.
  • Visually and physically integrate Streetcar with other transportation modes.
  • Accommodate inter-modal transfers.
  • Provide for effective and efficient streetcar operations.

    Principle 5: Promote the transit corridor to also serve as a pedestrian greenway. 


  • Promote the streetcar corridor as more than a transit opportunity, by designing it as an alternative pedestrian and bicycle system that connects to regional parks and open spaces.
  • Promote streetcar corridor as a linear park system that connects the culture and history of the neighborhood, district or sub-area through public art, gardens walks and trails.
  • Promote the creation of a system-wide landscape palette.

System Elements

1. Streetcar stops

  • Canopies
  • Windscreens
  • Seating/leaning rails
  • Bike racks
  • Real time AVL message board
  • Ticket vending (if not on-board)
  • Streetcar system maps / Kiosks
  • Lighting
  • Litter receptacles
  • Public art

2. Traction power

  • Poles 
  • Contact wire 
  • Substations

3. Embedded track way design 

  • Dynamic envelope definition 
  • Rumble strip/traffic delineation 
  • Exclusive or shared use track-way

4. Inter-modal facilities and connections

  • Bus parking and transfer areas 
  • Park and ride area 
  • Drop and ride area

5. Streetscape, landscape, lighting

  • Pedestrian plazas and paths 
  • Materials, finishes, and construction 
  • Street trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, seasonal plantings 
  • Street lights, pedestrian scale lights, streetcar stop lighting, landscape lighting

6. Signage / Graphics between stops 

  • System route map and operations schedule 
  • Context map: landmarks, civic uses, destinations, attractions