Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


A pedestrian mall. Source: - Dan Burden (2006)




Pedestrian Streets/Malls

A pedestrian street or mall as discussed in this section is defined as one that essentially prohibits motor vehicle traffic, aside from emergency access and time-limited essential activities such as trash pick-up and service deliveries. This is different from a shared street or space, which allows motor vehicles to travel at low speeds.

Pedestrian streets that eliminate all motor vehicle traffic have been successful in places that are thriving and have high volumes of pedestrians. Examples of successful pedestrian streets include Church Street in Burlington, VT; the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA; Maiden Lane in San Francisco, CA; Occidental Street in Seattle, WA; Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA; and, Fremont Street in Las Vegas, NV.


In an otherwise vibrant and thriving pedestrian commercial area, there is a lack of space for pedestrians to interact, shop, eat, and/or travel. Pedestrian malls can create a significant public space in a downtown district, tourist district, or a special events or marketplace area, which can enhance the experience of people and ease mobility.


• Pedestrian streets (those that eliminate motor vehicles) that attempt to attract people in areas that are on the decline have usually been unsuccessful.
• The pedestrian environment can often be enhanced through other measures, such as street narrowing, sidewalk widening, the addition of landscaping, etc.
• For more information on how to create pedestrian streets, with examples from New York City, see “I Walk in My Street: A Guide to Planning Successful Pedestrian Streets in New York City.”11

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 the quality of the materials used, a true pedestrian street can cost from $100,000 to several million dollars.

Case Studies

Santa Monica, CA
Madison, WI
Burlington, VT
New York, New York
New York City, New York