City of Pasadena Context-Based Street Types System

Pasadena, CA

City of Pasadena

Lead Consultant

2009 - 2012

CD+A worked with the City of Pasadena Department of Transportation to develop a context-based system of multimodal street types. As the City prepared for a General Plan Mobility Element , the street types system was designed to aid City staff, policy makers and the public in having informed conversations about integrated transportation and land use planning, and making decisions about future character and investments in different areas of the City.

A traditional street type system proved too coarse to match the diversity of neighborhoods and more urban land use and transportation conditions in Pasadena. Additionally, numerous well-intentioned efforts in recent years resulted in a tangle of public policies about the role streets should play within the transportation network. In the interest of improving both transportation efficiency and quality of life, CD+A developed a street type system that reflects both land use context and multi-modal function of streets as a means to prioritize decision-making about intensity and kind of investment appropriate to each. The draft street type system has three components:

  • Context: a system that is reflective of the character and intensity of land uses along a street, ensuring that future investments and efforts on those streets are appropriate to the primary users
  • Function: a system that differentiates streets by their function, rather than just volume, balancing and emphasizing modes as appropriate to transportation function and context
  • Overlays: unique factors that merit special consideration and may affect street design, but do not define the predominant nature and design
The street types system was developed as a planning and analysis tool for use in the Citys General Plan Mobility Element process. CD+A was engaged in outreach to stakeholder groups that aimed to improve the tools utility in decision-making at the neighborhood and citywide planning levels. Subsequently, CD+A was hired to build on these prior efforts and develop a Complete Streets policy for the City as part of the Mobility Element . The policy provides a framework for the City that addresses how the Citys streets and street network accommodate and support all users, and how a Complete Streets approach can be instituted throughout all City departments.

As part of this work, CD+A is developing concepts for parklets on Colorado Boulevard to enhance the quality and enjoyment of the pedestrian realm along this major corridor. The City recognized an opportunity to develop public spaces in front of certain businesses or institutions on a section of Colorado Boulevard near downtown. Both a culinary academy/restaurant and a church were interested in the additional public and pedestrian space provided by parklets. CD+A researched the range of parklets built in San Francisco and prepared a report to document findings about design, construction techniques and aspects of parklet success. CD+A then developed conceptual plans for potential parklets along Colorado Boulevard and created a more detailed design and Sketch-up model of one parklet adjoining the culinary academy.