Article 5.5: Street Design Specifications

Design should permit comfortable use of the street by motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users.  Pavement widths, posted speeds, and the number of travel lanes shall be appropriate for a multi-modal transportation network for which it will serve.  The specific design of any given street must consider the context of the building-types which have frontage and the relationship of the street to the overall Town street network.

Decision Making Process

Street design is to be tailored to the context of the area in which the street is located and shall balance the needs of those living, working, and traveling on that street.  All new streets and improvements to existing streets within the Town’s jurisdiction (excluding projects where multi-modal transportation is not allowed) will use the collaborative decision making process described below:

Step 1: Define Land Use Context.  What is the intensity and type of land use at present?  What building type(s), massing and exterior features are common between the existing developments?  Is there a Small Area Plan for the district?  What does it involve and advise? Are there other adopted plans that are applicable?

Step 2: Define the Transportation Context.  Identify the transportation network that will influence the street design.  What is the nature of the surrounding street network? Does the street cater to the multi-modal design philosophy? What are the incorporated street elements (lanes, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, traffic-calming devices, landscaping)?  Are transportation improvements expected for the area?

Step 3: Establish Goals and Objectives. Consider the issues and opportunities of the context (land use and transportation) and their impact on the design of the street network in order to develop goal sets for all users.

Step 4: Prioritize Goals. What components are acceptable and what should be modified? Do the stakeholders and larger community prefer the street network and neighborhood to change or remain the same?  How would the stakeholders and larger community prefer the street network and neighborhood to change?

Step 5: Develop Alternatives. Research and test the most suitable street type and its elements using this Article. Identify the site-specific constraints (right-of-way, existing features, environmental features, topography, etc.).

Step 6: Recommend Alternatives. Apply the appropriate street cross-section in the Town of Huntersville Engineering and Standards and Procedure Manual. Reconfigure the cross-section according to the context-based analysis in Steps 1 and 2 to meet goals established in Step 4 and accommodate the site specific constraints listed in Step 5.

Elements of Street Design: Below are cross-sections to be used for ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES to explain each design element discussed in this section.

Residential - Type Street Elements

art 1

Retail/Mixed-Use -Type Street Elements


art 2

NOTE: On street parking typically provided on both side of street. 

a. Pedestrian Zone is the area intended for pedestrian travel.  The walkway section of the pedestrian zone shall be free of all obstacles (temporary and permanent) and should be of sufficient width to allow pedestrians to walk safely and comfortably for current and future pedestrian activity.  At a minimum, 5 feet “free and clear” (per ADA standards) shall be provided.               art 3

 b. A sidewalk is required on both sides of public streets excluding residential-type streets in the Rural district, and the undeveloped side of residential-type streets adjacent to open space.  Sidewalks are not required for alleys. On residential streets, the minimum sidewalk width shall be 5 feet. In commercial and mixed-use areas, the minimum sidewalk width is 7 feet free and clear of obstacles. When the Green Zone includes hardscaped materials (tree grates and cutouts), the minimum sidewalk width is 10 feet with 5 feet “free and clear” (per ADA standards).

c. Sidewalk widths along thoroughfares (or higher-order streets) are established on a case-by-case basis but shall not be less than 6 feet.

d. Tree-grates may be utilized for street trees, however, the grate-area may only count toward 1 foot of the “free and clear” (per ADA standards) sidewalk area. All other material placed at the base of street trees, other than concrete or asphalt, shall not count toward the minimum sidewalk width.

1. Street trees are required on both sides of all public streets except along the undeveloped side of residential-type streets adjacent to open space.  Street Trees shall be located within a Green Zone, which is the space between the sidewalk and the back of curb or back of swale where no curb and gutter is present. Typically, Green Zones are a planting strip or hardscaped amenity zone, which serves as a buffer between pedestrians and vehicles.  The Green Zone may include street trees and landscaping and often includes street furnishings and utilities. To encourage tree health, Green Zones shall be provided as follows:

  1. Curb and gutter section – 7 feet in width (minimum);
  2. Ditch section – 6 feet minimum outside the swale;
  3. Industrial Streets – 10 feet in width;
  4. Alleys – not required.

2. Generally, street trees shall be planted at a spacing not to exceed 40 feet on center, and shall be a large-maturing type (see Town of Huntersville Approved Tree and Shrub List).  Where overhead utility lines preclude the use of large-maturing street trees, small-maturing street trees may be substituted, planted 30 feet on center. Street tree spacing may be “field-adjusted” for driveways or utilities, but should generally maintain uniform spacing. Street trees should not be planted within 40 feet of the radius return of an intersection.

3. Parking Zone is an area to accommodate on-street parking adjacent to uses where on-street parking provides convenience.  Parking widths and layout may vary.  Refer to the Town’s Engineering Standards and Procedures Manual for specifics on parking space widths and lengths.  This area may also include transit stops and provisions for transit pullouts. 

On-street parking is recommended where building type and use will generate regular parking need. Occasional on-street parking can be accommodated without additional pavement width. For streets which serve workplace and storefront buildings, on-street parking lane(s) are required and shall be marked as such. An on-street parking lane on at least one side of the street is required on streets serving apartments, attached houses, and detached houses with lots 60’ or less in width. This parking should be on the side of the street that the use is located (if applicable).  In some conditions, parking should be adjacent to urban open space. Standard curb and gutter is required where there is marked parking.

Generally, on-street parking should be parallel, and 7 to 8 feet in width; Angled parking or reverse-angle parking is only permitted as an intentional design element where appropriate.

4.  Medians. Medians that are greater than 10 feet in width should be planted.  Refer to the Engineering Standards and Procedures Manual for additional planting requirements.  Pedestrian refuges may be located in the medians.

5. Traffic Control Plans depicting all regulatory, warning and street name signage as well as pavement markings shall be prepared in accordance with the guidance of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the Engineering Standards and Procedures Manual for all public streets.  The developer is responsible for the initial installation of the signs and/or markings and the maintenance thereof until the public accepts the street for maintenance. Conflicts between street signs and tree plantings shall be avoided.

These elements may be varied only in accordance with the design principles detailed above and as approved by the Planning Director in consultation with the Town’s Engineer.


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