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Downtown Main Street

Downtown Main Streets are principal streets in downtowns (central business districts) of cities. While there may be a single street that is thought of as being the “main street” (and may or not be named Main Street), this place type applies to all of the significant streets in urban downtowns. These streets may vary in scale and in official functional classification. Downtowns are large mixed use districts encompassing retail, office employment, residential, civic and lodging uses in multi-story buildings. Streets are generally commercial in nature and residential uses occur in the upper floors of multi-use buildings.

Pearl Street, Boulder
Credit: CAI
Boston street
Credit: CAI

Design considerations can be divided into three major categories:

  • Multimodal Corridor Planning deals with the design of the transportation network and its performance.
  • Site Planning involves site- and building-specific issues such as density, urban scale, and floor area ratio.
  • The Choices & Guidelines section encompasses numerous design matters including parking, setbacks, lighting, and drainage, among others.

For more information about design and the relationship between the public roadway and private property see the Design Tutorial.

Process considerations deal with the steps and procedures involved in the planning process. This manual addresses nine specific process areas.