CNU Week: Sustainable Street Network Principles

I had planned to attend this years CNU21 in Salt Lake City but unfortunately won't be there.  It is one of those places where people interested in walkability, place making and quality development can go to nurture their inner geek.  This week, I'll be posting  a number of my favorite things about the new urbanist movement.

Let's call this Transportation Tuesday...  One of the most important aspects of our built environment is our transportation infrastructure.  Sidewalks, Streets, Roads, Highways, Railways, etc.. One of the most frustrating parts of good urban design is the fact that a DOT can crush a good development because the roads are poortly designed or because they won't allow proper widths due to a number of voodoo reasons that we won't get into here.  CNU has been working for a long time with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) through the CNU Project for Transportation Reform to come up with guidelines that will help build more people friendly places.  In 2012, the released their Sustainable Street Network Principles.

Here are the main points.  If you would like to dive into them, download the pdf.



  1. Create a Street Network That Supports Communities and Places
  2. Create a Street Network that Attracts and Sustains Economic Activity
  3. Maximize Transportation Choice
  4. Integrate the Street Network With Natural Systems at All Scales
  5. Respect the Existing Natural and Built Environment
  6. Emphasize Walking as the Fundamental Unit of the Street Network
  7. Create Harmony With Other Transportation Networks


Key Characteristics


  1. A web of streets and travel modes that maximize connectivity
  2. Desirable places where multiple networks overlap
  3. Inherently complex
  4. Major streets designed and spaced properly
  5. All streets safe and walkable
  6. Wide variety of street types, each with a role in the network