Street types in other cities


The 2020 City of Sarasota Downtown Master Plan includes definitions for two street types. “A” Streets have rigorous and exacting rules for their design and any redevelopment applied to them. Streets not seen as high priority streets for pedestrian activity, or that serve to link important destinations, are defined as “B” Streets. As such, they are acceptable for a complementary set of uses, many of which are unacceptable along “A” Streets (i.e., gas stations, drive through restaurants, etc.). Shown below, Main Street is designated as an “A” Street within the 2020 City of Sarasota Downtown Master Plan.


The Downtown Houston Master Plan designates its primary pedestrian oriented streets as Walk Corridors. These designated Walk Corridors also anchor compact areas identified as Walk Districts. In addition, many Walk Corridors and Districts include Light Rail Transit Development Zones, illustrating the impact of compact clustering of complimenting land use policy with transit infrastructure investment.

This effort is part of an initiative to develop a Great Streets Program to specifically redesign, retrofit and reconstruct streets as enhanced multimodal corridors aligned with mobility priorities. Priorities are determined for each street based on its role in the larger mobility network and the development context along the respective corridor.


In Downtown Madison, Wisconsin, the Streetscape Design map categorizes streets to serve as a basis for streetscape design, with “premier streets” having the highest level of design and amenity, and “neighborhood streets” having the lowest. It is important to note that Madison’s street typology is different from functional classification of streets. Rather than being tied to traffic count and function, a street’s typology is related to the surrounding existing and desired future context. Illustrated below, State Street is an example of a premier street in Downtown Madison.

(Courtesy of Google Streetview)

(Courtesy of Google Streetview)


Downtown Greenville, South Carolina has witnessed so much success with driving adaptive reuse and infill development to Main Street (shown below) that its vibrant pedestrian scale corridor is already more than a mile in length. As a result, the Downtown Greenville Master Plan has embraced several key entry points and corridors into downtown as areas to cluster pedestrian scale infill development. Each entry point is located along a “major vehicular route” or “balanced street” in a section of downtown that has its own unique character and historic development pattern, along with a competitive advantage for new development.

(Courtesy of Google Streetview)

(Courtesy of Google Streetview)

An opportunity for Jacksonville

Riverside Avenue is a corridor that should be a designated primary street within the DIA’s jurisdiction. Since existing policy treats all streets the same regardless of context, incremental infill has created a hodgepodge of pedestrian scale retail separated by surface parking lots on a corridor that should resemble the vibrant commercial corridors of Great Streets.

According to the website of the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), all great cities have great downtowns. In addition, all great downtowns have great streets. What are Downtown Jacksonville’s Great Streets? As of now, there is no guidance or policy in place that will lead to the incremental development of a great pedestrian friendly street that stretches more than a mile in length.

However, the DIA has plans for an update of its Downtown design guidelines to refine and conform to the recently adopted zoning overlay.

This deliverable will include a graphic document illustrating the vision for Downtown and projects, which can be distributed to the public and development community. Associated with the updating of the Business Investment and Development Plan for Downtown, anticipated to be completed in mid 2021, this should be viewed as an opportunity to identify a street hierarchy plan with design guidelines that lead to a Downtown Jacksonville full of great streets. Without a street hierarchy plan that incrementally guides infill development, issues like the Brooklyn Home2 Suites debate will continue to arise, and Downtown Jacksonville will continue to develop as a landscape where primary pedestrian scale environments that extend for several blocks, fail to materialize.

Editorial by Bill Delaney, Ennis Davis and Mike Field. Contact Bill at, Ennis at and Mike at