There’s a difference between roads and streets. If you search for either on Google you get very different results. Once we come to the conclusion that we want our streets to do more – have greater capacity for multimodal transportation, manage stormwater, calm traffic – there’s a myriad of infrastructure options that a city can employ to accomplish its end goals.
Similar to using transects, which categorize the character of the environment based on its location and context, standardizing a street typology helps meet atypical goals for municipalities (like connectivity or green infrastructure installations). Beyond character, streets must meet functional requirements of moving people, while at the same time leveraging their sizable land area to help cities solve other pressing concerns.
As you add capacity to streets, we should also outline all of the possible opportunities within that land area while better connecting to our culture, the surrounding urban fabric, and with an emphasis on creating new opportunities. The “Flex Street” project in Salt Lake City begins to define the wide variety of opportunities that our streets could take advantage of, if they could change over the course of a day. As shops open, perhaps streets could be more shared. During events, perhaps streets could encourage play or display art.