Successful first year for Living Streets Manual
CNU member Ryan Snyder of Ryan Snyder Associates, the organizer behind last year’s charrette for Los Angeles County’s Model Design Manual for Living Streets, reports on progress.
The first anniversary of the charrette to create the Model Design Manual for Living Streets took place March 14 and 15, a year after about 45 of the nation’s top street designers convened in Los Angeles to draft chapters of the Manual. They included transportation engineers, transportation planners, civil engineers, landscape architects, architects, sociologists, public health officials, and more. CNU members made up a large contingent of the meeting.
The following national, state, and local organizations with a stake in street design all contributed: 1) Congress for the New Urbanism; 2) AARP Public Policy Institute; 3) American Society of Landscape Architects; 4) Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals; 5) California Department of Health Services; 6) California Strategic Growth Council; 7) City of Long Beach; 8) City of Los Angeles Planning Department; 9) Council for Watershed Health; 10) Federal Highway Administration; 11) Green Los Angeles Coalition; 12) Institute of Transportation Engineers; 13) Local Government Commission; 14) American Institute of Architects; 15) Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; 16) National Complete Streets Coalition; 17) Project for Public Spaces; 18) Safe Routes to School National Partnership; 19) Smart Growth America; 20) UCLA Luskin Center; 21) Walkable Livable Communities Institute.The work from this group was synthesized and turned into a final document and just six months after meeting, the Manual was complete and released on October 6, 2011.
The Model Design Manual for Living Streets provides guidance that cities can use to replace or supplement existing road standard manuals with updated techniques that reflect a greater emphasis on active transportation and environmental sustainability. The Manual is also useful to help design streets on the project level, and provides a template for local jurisdictions to begin updating existing manuals.
Many cities today lack the resources to undertake a major revision of their manuals. Some cities will likely want to customize the manual for their own context and streets. Cities may also amend this manual by providing more in-depth guidance on selected topics, or adding new components not currently included.
Since its release, the Manual has been downloaded over 5,000 times from at least eight countries and three continents. It is a hot topic at numerous national, state and local conferences. The manual has also been in use by various departments in Los Angeles County, is due to be adopted by the City of Baldwin Park, CA, and has been used as a starting point for similar manuals under creation in Las Vegas, St. Paul, MN, Broward County, FL, and other areas.
This manual is a project of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The department funded its production through a federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant to expand opportunities for people to bicycle and walk as an obesity prevention effort. The UCLA Luskin Center funded the Streetscape Ecosystem chapter to address environmental sustainability issues related to streets. And Ryan Snyder Associates coordinated production of the Manual.
The Model Design Manual for Living Streets is available as a free download in a Word, InDesign and PDF version at www.modelstreetdesignmanual.com.