The design guidelines are based on a set of "First Principles" for regional road corridors. They have been derived from various sources including existing policy, lessons learned locally and elsewhere, relevant literature, and stakeholders' input.
The First Principles for regional road corridors are organized in accordance with the corridors' four basic functions. Each regional road corridor functions, to varying degrees, as a:
Public Space Principles
Allan Jacobs wrote, in Great Streets (1995), "If we can develop roads that are attractive public spaces, community-building places, then we will have successfully designed one third of the city and will have an immense effect on the rest." As a public space, roads should be safe, comfortable, barrier-free, pleasing to the eye, used by many, and a source of civic pride. They are a place for social interaction. To function as a public space, regional road corridors should be:
Secure: Regional road corridors should be safe and friendly areas for pedestrians and cyclists, and for adjacent residents and businesses.
Comfortable: Regional road corridors should maximize the physical comfort of pedestrians and cyclists, and of adjacent residents and businesses, through mitigation of the environmental effects of temperature, sun, rain, snow, wind, lighting glare, visual, noise, and air pollution.
Convenient: Regional road corridors should be convenient for their users by providing amenities, accessibility, signage, and integration with adjacent uses, as well as the ease of travel along the corridor.
Engaging to the Eye: Regional road corridors should have qualities that engage the eye through the creative combination of road elements such as trees and vegetation, lighting, signs, furniture, public art, utility infrastructure, and the definition provided by adjacent landscaping and buildings.
Spatially Defined: Regional road corridors should be designed with regard for the massing, height and setback of adjacent buildings and landscaping to define human-scaled spaces.
Green: Regional road corridors should maximize the amount of vegetation as an attractive element of public space, to green the urban landscape and to create public spaces and green ways.
Universally Accessible: Regional road corridors can contribute to the diversity of urban areas by hosting land uses and public spaces where people of all levels of physical ability, from all walks of life and from other communities can meet and interact without barriers.
Access Provider Principles
Regional roads provide access and/or exposure to lands located adjacent to them. The degree of access ranges from public street intersections, to consolidated vehicle driveways, to individual lot driveways, to pedestrian access only, to no access at all, to visual marketing exposure only. The use and design of the adjacent built form and the type of access are important determinants of the character and function of a road corridor. To best provide access and exposure, regional road corridors should be:
Properly Spaced: Block length and intersection spacing along regional road corridors should be designed to accommodate all transportation modes including walking, cycling, and public transit.
Access-Controlled: Vehicular access to individual lots adjacent to regional road corridors should be controlled to minimize turning movements and to reduce conflicts between all travel modes. Opportunities for direct pedestrian and cyclist access should be maximized.
Connective: Regional road corridors should provide a high degree of connectivity between land uses and places along and across the route. This includes accessibility and mobility for all users to and from adjacent land uses as well as the communities that flank the corridor.
Continuous: Regional road corridors should provide for visual and functional continuity, both for uses and activities along the corridor, and for uses and activities across the corridor.
Revealing: Regional road corridors should provide exposure to adjacent users requiring visibility, while managing the quantity and quality of signage and landscaping both within the road allowance and on adjacent lands.
Multi-Modal Route Principles
The high capacity, high diversity function of regional roads distinguishes them from the remaining hierarchy of the less-travelled public roads. To function as multi-modal routes, regional road corridors should be:
High-Capacity: Regional road corridors should continue to accommodate the highest volume of people, goods and services through a diversity of travel modes, and their design should facilitate the safe and efficient movement of these modes.
Safe: The design of regional road corridors should maximize safety for all travel modes and users. Integrating various traffic calming measures into the design of new or rehabilitated roads may be appropriate. Applying such measures should not displace traffic to adjacent non-arterial roads, unduly compromise transit service, or jeopardize emergency vehicle response.
Prioritized For Pedestrians, Cyclists and Transit Users: Regional road corridors should place a priority on walking, cycling, and public transit use, over the use of the private automobile.
Pedestrian Supportive: Regional road corridors should have sidewalks along both sides and other pedestrian friendly features, and should contribute to the pedestrian and cycling linkages within and between communities.
Cycling Supportive: Regional road corridors should provide features to promote safe and efficient cycling. Roads that form part of the Cycling Transportation Network (CTN) should provide for on-road commuter cycling needs to the greatest extent possible.
Transit Supportive: Regional road corridors that serve as public transit routes should include an enhanced level of features, facilities and connectivity for pedestrians, to promote transit use. Buses should have equal or greater priority than other vehicular traffic.
Heavy Vehicle Compatible: Most regional road corridors serve as routes for trucks, buses, and emergency service vehicles. They should be designed to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of large and heavy vehicles. This will minimize vehicle conflicts with pedestrians and cyclists, mitigate environmental effects and reduce maintenance costs of both the road and the vehicles.
Service and Utility Route Principles
Regional roads accommodate a range of municipal services such as piped water, sanitary sewers, and storm sewers, as well as utilities such as hydro, telephone, gas and telecommunications (cable, telephone, data, etc.). The services are typically underground, yet hydro, telephone and cable may be mounted on poles. Trees are also part of the public infrastructure. Providing suitable vertical and horizontal space is an important design challenge. The maintenance and operation of this infrastructure, and of the road corridor itself, are also important design considerations. To function as a service and utility route, regional road corridors should be:
Infrastructure Compatible: Regional road corridors should continue to provide the required horizontal and vertical space for municipal service and utility infrastructure.
Vegetation Supportive: Vegetation in the road corridor should be considered as part of a connected system of underground, at-grade and overhead infrastructure. The integrity and continuity of the system should not be compromised or broken. The green infrastructure promotes oxygen production, carbon dioxide absorption, ground water infiltration, noise and light attenuation, snow drift management, and airborne particle collection.
Operable and Maintainable: Regional road corridors should be based on designs which address the life-cycle costs and ease of maintenance of the infrastructure. Materials, construction techniques and scale of the road corridor elements should be selected to ensure durability and quality.
It is important to note that these four functions are not always entirely complementary. For example, it is often difficult to develop a desirable public space along a high speed arterial road. The pre-eminence of the various functions, therefore, often varies by road corridor type. This is the challenge the guidelines must address.