Article 5A: Street Regulations
Streets should be designed to suit their functions. Many streets, especially local ones, have purposes other than vehicular traffic. As an alternative to current NC. Department of Transportation road standards, the following street designs are provided for non-state maintained streets within the municipal limits of Huntersville and for streets within the Extraterritorial Zoning Jurisdiction which will be maintained by the town upon annexation. Streets built to the standards of this section are eligible for town maintenance.
Streets in Huntersville are to be inviting public space and integral components of community design. A hierarchical street network should have a rich variety of types, including bicycle, pedestrian, and transit routes. All streets should connect to help create a comprehensive network of public areas to allow free movement of automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians. In order for this street network to be safe for motorists and pedestrians, all design elements must consistently be applied to calm automobile traffic.
In summary, streets shall:
1. Interconnect within a development and with adjoining development. Cul-de-sac shall be allowed only where topographical and/or lot line configurations offer no practical alternatives for connections or through traffic. Street stubs shall be provided within development adjacent to open land to provide for future connections. The Land Development Map should be reviewed to locate potential connections in new neighborhoods.
2. Be designed as the most prevalent public space of the town and, thus, scaled to the pedestrian.
3. Be bordered by sidewalks on both sides, with the exception of rural roads, lanes, alleys, and the undeveloped edge of neighborhood parkways. Sidewalks on one side of the road may be permitted in the Rural zone as an incentive to protect water quality.
4. Be lined with street trees on both sides, with the exception of rural roads, lanes, alleys, and the undeveloped edge of neighborhood parkways. Private drives are permitted only as described in the Rural and Transitional zone.
5. Be public. Private streets are not permitted within any new development. Alleys will be classified as public or private depending on function, according to the street acceptance policy.
6. Be the focus of buildings. Generally, all buildings will front on public streets.
Intersections & Blocks
Segments of straight streets should be interrupted by intersections designed to
a. disperse traffic flow and reduce speeds, thereby eliminating the creation of de facto collector streets with high speed, high volume traffic; and
b terminate vistas with a significant natural feature, a building, a small park, or other public space.
Other traffic calming measures such as neckdowns, chicanes, mid-block diverters, intersection diverters, curb bulbs, serial hill crests, and related devices will be considered on a case by case basis, based on safety and appropriateness in the proposed location.
Street blocks defined by public streets are the fundamental design elements of traditional neighborhoods. In urban conditions, any dimension of a block may range from 250 to 500 linear feet between cross streets. In major subdivisions the dimension of blocks may not exceed 800 linear feet between cross streets. Within large-lot subdivisions the blocks may be up to 1500 feet. The block pattern should continue to establish the development pattern at the project edge. Where a longer block will reduce the number of railroad grade crossings, major stream crossings, or where longer blocks will result in an arrangement of street connections, lots and public space more consistent with this Article and Article 7 of these regulations, the Town Board may authorize greater block lengths at the time of subdivision sketch plan review and approval.
Acceptance of Streets
Streets shall be accepted in accordance with the Street Acceptance Policy adopted by the Board of Commissioners and on file in the office of the Town Manager.
Street Plan Types
The layout of streets should provide structure to the neighborhoods. The formality of the street plan will vary depending upon site conditions and topography. Unique site conditions should be used to create special neighborhood qualities. The following are examples of street plan types, noting advantages and disadvantages.
Defining the Public Space of the Street
As the most prevalent public spaces in Huntersville, streets should be spatially defined by buildings. Proper alignment and delineation of the public street space occurs when the facades of adjacent buildings are aligned much like the walls forming a room. Buildings that make up the street edges are aligned in a disciplined manner. The defined space observes a certain ratio of height to width.
Building articulation must take place primarily in the vertical plane of the façade. Appendages such as porches, balconies, and bay windows are encouraged to promote the transition between the public street and the private dwelling.
For good definition, the ratio of one increment of height to six of width is the absolute maximum, with one to three being a good effective minimum. As a general rule, the tighter the ratio, the stronger the sense of place. Very tight relationships of one to one can create special pedestrian places.
In the absence of spatial definition by facades, disciplined tree planting is an alternative. Trees aligned for spatial enclosure are necessary on streets with deep building setbacks.