Press Releases

Press Release #09-024

Contact: Seth Solomonow/Monty Dean (212) 442-7033

DOT announces release of first-ever Street Design Manual for New York City

Landmark document consolidates standards and specifications for street design materials and infrastructure-from pavement to street lighting-in one resource

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the release of the Street Design Manual for New York City, a landmark document that establishes policies and guidelines and details a broad array of design options available to create world-class streets in New York City. The manual, the first of its kind for the City, will assist all stakeholders in the public and private sectors-including City agencies, design professionals, private developers, and community groups-in designing and maintaining streets that improve safety and quality of life in the city's diverse neighborhoods while stimulating economic investment. The manual offers detailed guidance on geometric, material, lighting and street furniture treatments, providing descriptions, benefits and constraints of particular applications, ranging from more varied uses for concrete and asphalt to the layout of bus lanes, raised speed reducers, greening, medians and sidewalks. These treatments, most of which can be found in the City today, support the vision for the City's growth outlined in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative. Written in straightforward language, the manual also provides a glossary for many of the technical terms for community groups and the general public.

"The manual is a playbook that gives designers, planners and residents tools to create durable, safe and attractive streetscapes that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual neighborhoods and communities," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "It's a guidebook for delivering world-class streets that will improve our quality of life, competitiveness and allow projects to be completed more quickly and less expensively."

City streets are controlled by a complex array of regulations involving multiple agencies and organizations that affect how our streets look and perform. The 232-page document is the first comprehensive resource on street design and consolidates the various standards and specifications for street materials, lighting and furniture across agencies. The manual's goals are to create streets that are safer, streets that endure, streets that work for a variety of activities, needs and communities, and streets whose design and appearance work for the City and are better for the environment.

Street design is one element of the World Class Streets Program announced by DOT last year, which aims to improve New York City's public spaces. The Street Design Manual builds on the broader policy goals of DOT's strategic plan and the Mayor's vision as expressed in PlaNYC. Street design also represents an extraordinary opportunity to improve the City's environment. Using the Street Design Manual, agencies will be able to collaborate in testing new, environmentally-sound materials and designs. Working with partners to integrate sustainable materials into the City's toolbox and to maintain them going forward will be a critical part of this effort. For example, proper street design can reduce water pollution caused by storm water runoff by using more permeable surfaces, trees and vegetation. In this way, designs can meet these needs while also improving the visual quality and coherence of streets by using consistent, durable materials and with consideration for the City's future needs.

The Street Design Manual is the product of an inter-agency Task Force headed by the DOT and included the Departments of Design and Construction (DDC), City Planning (DCP), Environmental Protection (DEP), Parks and Recreation (DPR), Buildings (DOB), Small Business Services (SBS), the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the Design Commission (DC), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Mayor's Office. The Task Force was initially convened in the fall of 2007 to make a practical assessment of problems, needs and opportunities in a broad range of street conditions. Over the course of a year, agency representatives visited sites throughout the City, reviewed existing conditions and the performance of street materials, as well as lighting geometric treatments. The group considered potential new materials and treatments that required further study as well as sustainability issues and storm water impacts. This effort led to a decision to expand the responsibilities of the Task Force to create a manual that would provide design direction for streets.

The Commissioner will be joined by Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and City Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney to present the Street Design Manual tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Arts Society, 457 Madison Avenue, at E.51st Street. The manual is available at