The Nuts and Bolts of People-First Streets

Chapter 2

Nuts and Bolts of People-First Streets


Building a Foundation

Creating streets for people requires an understanding of the various components that directly and indirectly relate to commercial district transportation planning and design. Equipped with this knowledge, Main Street leaders can better advocate for design elements, programming strategies, and policies that support people-first streets and improve their ability to communicate with local community partners and transportation officials. 

Chapter 2
delves into the nuts and bolts of various elements that directly impact the quality of Main Street transportation networks in the areas of streetscape and pedestrian design, managing traffic, and parking, and concludes with a section on potential funding sources. Along with a robust community process, these elements can be adapted and used to inspire your projects, to share as examples with fellow stakeholders, and to create the foundation for streets that positively impact people, place, and the economy.

Explore Sections

Learn how to create a more vibrant, engaging, and connected Main Street.

Learn how to effectively manage all modes of vehicular traffic.

Learn the basics of parking from types and uses to policies and programming.

Potential Funding Sources

Public Funding:

  • Bond issues ask voters to approve or disapprove proposed municipal spending, which could be used to fund streetscape and infrastructure projects.
  • General revenue funds are unassigned municipal dollars that could be used to fund streetscape and infrastructure projects.
  • Special taxing districts, such as Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), levy a tax on the property owners who most directly benefit, which is then used to fund various projects in the district boundaries, including streetscape and infrastructure. In some states, BIDs can use some of their revenue to secure bonds.
  • Tax-increment financing (TIF) allocates future increases in tax revenue to pay for improvements.
  • Special sales or food and lodging taxes are additional taxes on specific goods, food, or lodging that are intended to capture tourist and visitor dollars to be used for community projects. 
  • State-funded loans and grants from state agencies like the Department of Commerce, the Department of Economic Development, or the Department of Transportation, are often put toward streetscape and infrastructure projects. 
  • Federal grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Highway Administration, etc. can also be applied to local streetscape and infrastructure projects.

Private Funding:

  • Grants from national, state, and local foundations can fund staff time, iterative interventions, or provide match for local, state, and federal government funds. 
  • Donations for the purchase of items such as pavers, benches, or plantings cover the costs of specific budget line items. 
  • Crowdfunding describes generally smaller donations from community members, usually gathered via online platform like ioby [link to] or Patronicity [link to]. 
  • In-kind donations like paint, lumber, or time serve as in-kind funding, meaning they support the work through non-financial means.

Funding Resources: