Subdivision and Street Design Regulations

Post-WWII era, car-oriented subdivisions typically include:

  • Large lots (imposed through zoning codes)
  • No alleys
  • Numerous cul-de-sacs
  • Large blocks
  • Poor internal and external connectivity
  • Little or no pedestrian paths
  • Wide streets
  • Little or no on-street parking
  • No sidewalks or sidewalks with no buffer on one side of the street only
  • No bicycle facilities

One strategy to make bicycling and walking safer and easier is to retrofit existing subdivisions and streets to welcome nonmotorized transportation modes. These retrofits could include path connections through cul-de-sacs. Another more proactive approach is to require new subdivisions and streets to meet specific bicycle and pedestrian standards to increase functionality and safety.

A comprehensive listing of strategies for improving bicycle safety through street design is provided in the section, Engineer Bicycle Facilities. Most of the following examples focus on regulations that specifically improve conditions for pedestrians, but they also include better accommodation of bicyclists.



  • Town of Davidson Planning Ordinance—ordinance for Davidson, NC, includes a high-quality streets and greenways section (Section 11) that provides text, pictures, and illustrations to ensure the creation of bicyclist- and pedestrian-friendly streets.
  • Sacramento Pedestrian Friendly Street Standards—program adopted in Sacramento, CA, in 2004 to retrofit existing streets and require new streets pedestrian-friendly standards.
  • Denver Comprehensive Plan—the Denver Comprehensive Plan is excellent in redefining street categories based on land uses. Accordingly, different street types have different priorities for infrastructure investments that support bicycling and walking.