This street has been reconstructed from a conventional curbed transit mall to provide a nearly flush surface with low, mountable curbs defining the right-of-way. A center-running transit street, with a similar right-of-way but narrower existing sidewalks, can also be converted into a shared transit street by reconstructing with widened sidewalks.
Transit capacity is extremely high, supporting bus or rail transit with tens of thousands of passengers per hour. Capacity depends on platform height, signal priority and other conditions. Transit and other speeds are low, prioritizing safe pedestrian movement.
A low curb or, optionally, curbless surface increases pedestrian permeability across the entire street, maximizing available public space and emphasizing the shared condition of the street. Pedestrians can cross a shared transit street at any point, but are discouraged from walking along the central transitway by the high volume of transit vehicles.
In Melbourne, Australia, trams operate on the Bourke Street and Swanston Street corridors with average peak hour frequencies ranging from 50 to 75 trains per hour.
“Swanston Street North Proposed Tram Platforms.” Presentation to Future Melbourne Committee (2011).
Street furniture—including bollards, benches, planters, street lights, and bicycle parking—is sited to provide definition for a shared space and integrated into the cohesive street design. Design elements provide guidance for the visually impaired and subtly delineate the traveled way from the pedestrian-exclusive area. Where less permeability is desired, including just ahead of stations, use plantings and furniture to concentrate activity in desired areas and channelize pedestrian travel paths.
The addition of bikeways between the transitway and the exclusive pedestrian space adds further person-capacity to the street. Especially at peak times, the bikeway insulates the shared transitway from the exclusive pedestrian space.
At station locations, the bikeway and a portion of the side pedestrian space rise to create a level boarding platform. Where transit shelters are provided, they must be placed on the raised portion of the exclusive pedestrian space. If they are not provided, a lean bar or other furnishings should be used to prevent tripping on the back of the platform (see Shared Cycle Track Stop).
Detectable warning strips should be used along the platform edge and at the ends of the platform where the bikeway slope begins. An accessible path must be provided on both sides of the street. At intersections, mark crosswalks and provide detectable warning strips at the end of the exclusive pedestrian area.
Low-emissions and quiet-running transit vehicles, such as battery-electric or hybrid-electric vehicles, are more compatible with the pedestrian environment than an internal-combustion bus fleet, but any transit vehicle can be used.
Auto traffic is either prohibited or limited using volume management techniques that filter out through-traffic and permit local vehicle access, especially for deliveries. These strategies include forced turns, single-block prohibitions, and time-of-day restrictions. Bicycle traffic may also be restricted if a safe alternate route is provided without significant detour requirement.
Limited delivery and private vehicle traffic can be permitted at off-peak transit hours, and delivery vehicles can be permitted to use the street in early morning hours. Fully prohibiting auto traffic on blocks with transit stops prevents lane blockages and cross-street delay. Provide dedicated parking space for loading and delivery vehicles at locations where these vehicles will use the street during daytime hours.
Programming is essential to activating the shared street, and can be coordinated with a local maintenance partner. Shared transit streets are well configured for special events. If nearby parallel streets can accommodate transit service, temporary street closures can be used at off-peak times. Transit detours require robust passenger communications in advance of special events and on site.
Trench drains can be useful for providing both drainage along the street without sewer relocation, and a detectable edge to the transitway.
For additional guidance on Shared Streets, refer to the Urban Street Design Guide.