The Great Streets Master Plan is a comprehensive and integrated urban design strategy for re-making 306 blocks of public right-of-way in Downtown Austin. Its goal is to provide a complete vision and the necessary conceptual instruments to civilize the streets, reinstate a pedestrian priority, calm traffic, and stimulate economic development through new retail and mixed-use infill development.
Recognizing and reflecting the unique nature and character of Austin’s urban environment, this project integrates all modes of transportation into a harmonious and balanced system of streets and sidewalks, enhancing the livability, safety and aesthetics of the public realm. The Master Plan proposes a fundamental re-balancing of priorities for use of the right of way, consistent with a recently adopted City policy, placing pedestrians first, transit second, bicycles third, and automobiles fourth, or last.
The Master Plan describes the reapportioned, pedestrian-friendly street through plan and section drawings and perspective sketches, detailing development of six street types and 12 descriptions of other unique and exceptional streets within the project study area, and illustrating the enlarged sidewalk dimensions and various accommodations for transit, bicycles, and automobiles in the remainder of the public right-of-way.
The package also contains a rigorous treatment of streetscape elements and standards, including new prototypical street lighting, revised standards for accessibility, trees, furnishings, and bicycle lanes, as well as transit and proposed light rail facilities. An expansive overall map (6 feet by 8 feet four inches) provides an important tool for explaining the plan in public meetings and is combined with a colorful and evocative series of “Element Plans” to capture the imagination and communicate the vision in an illustrative and easy-to-understand way.