What makes a Great Street?


Great Streets bring all elements of the built environment — including land use, transportation, housing, energy, and infrastructure — together to contribute to high quality of life. Does the street:

  • Encourage active forms of transportation such as walking and biking through specific design features?

  • Operate as part of a complete street network to enable safe access for all users?

  • Use design standards to improve function or appearance in a way that is consistent with the community context?

  • Contain safe and accessible public facilities and spaces?

  • Conserve, enhance, or reuse local cultural and historic resources?


Great Streets recognize the value of natural systems and respond to their natural settings. Does the street:

  • Respond to underlying natural systems and topography, protecting and enhancing sensitive land, habitat, streams, and watersheds?

  • Exhibit green infrastructure design elements (i.e., street trees, park integration, innovative stormwater strategies, etc.) that improve stormwater performance, human health, water conservation, and urban heat island effect?


Great Streets build a community's capacity to react to both positive and negative changes in economic circumstances by providing a hub for economic diversity and community connections. Does the street:

  • Contain a thriving mix of businesses serving local needs in a way that is compatible with the character of the community?

  • Feature an active and engaged community association or local business alliance that promotes reinvestment, cultural programming, traffic-generating events, or other business activity along the street?


Great Streets belong to everyone, serving a broad cross-section of the community members' needs for housing, services, health, safety, and livelihood. Does the street:

  • Provide equitable access to public services, cultural amenities, job training, and health care for everyone, including minority, low-income, and other underserved populations?

  • Show a history of upgrades and refreshes to meet established modern standards for access, safety, and appearance?


Great Streets contribute to their community's health by providing safe and healthy access to high-quality food, physical activity, recreation, and health care services. Does the street:

  • Contain areas that have been remediated to protect businesses and residents from exposure to toxins and pollutants?

  • Promote security from crime, and is it perceived as safe for children and other users? (i.e., traffic calming, street lighting, bicycle, police, etc.)

  • Promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles through its design? For example, connections to parks, recreational facilities, greenways and/or open space.

  • Serve as a connection to healthy, locally grown foods?


Great Streets serve as hubs for the neighborhoods and regions in which they exist. They account for, connect with, and are compatible with the greater municipal street network and the community as a whole. Does the street:

  • Provide connections to a larger, regional transit network?

  • Connect regional activity centers and destinations?

  • Figure in a larger, connected grid of streets?


Great Streets are planned through the involvement of all segments of the community in analyzing issues, generating visions, developing plans, and monitoring outcomes. Does the street (or do its related planning efforts):

  • Engage diverse stakeholders and promote leadership development among community members, especially the disadvantaged and underserved, in all stages of the planning process?

  • Consistently provide information about ongoing investments, activities, and institutions to the community through various formats and channels?