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Pedestrian streets / malls

There are two types of pedestrian streets/malls:
    1) those that eliminate motor vehicle traffic (deliveries permitted during off peak hours); and

    2) those that allow some motor vehicle traffic at very low speeds.
The second type can be thought of as a pedestrian street that allows some motor vehicles as opposed to a motor vehicle street that allows some pedestrians.

Pedestrian streets have been successful in places that are thriving and have high volumes of pedestrians. They are not likely to improve the economy in an area that is not doing well. Examples include Church Street in Burlington, Vermont; Downtown Crossing in Boston, Massachusetts; Maiden Lane in San Francisco, California; and Occidental Street in Seattle, Washington; Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California; and, Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Church Street in Burlington, Vermont is a successful pedestrian street with market stalls, public art, landscaping and cafes.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.


full street closure

partial street closure

pedestrian streets / malls


• Enhances the experience for people in a commercial district.

• Creates a significant public space in a downtown district, a tourist district, or a special events or marketplace area.


• Pedestrian streets (those that eliminate motor vehicles) created with the notion of attracting people in areas that are on the decline have usually been unsuccessful.

• The pedestrian environment can often be enhanced through other measures, including street narrowing/sidewalk widening and the addition of landscaping.

Estimated Cost:

A pedestrian street can be created simply by blocking either end of an existing street with nothing more than a few signs. Temporary pedestrian streets can be created for weekends or holidays. If the street is going to be a permanent public space, care should be taken in the design. Depending on the extent of the treatment (one block or several blocks) and quality of materials used, a true pedestrian street can cost from $100,000 to several million dollars.

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