Roadway character is defined by the visual experience created by the design of the roadway as well as the physical elements adjacent to it. Character types vary greatly and can evoke a variety of responses that create an immediate psychological effect on motorists and pedestrians. These effects can persist to create long-lasting impressions for residents and visitors about the city and Dublin’s community values. For example, many visitors to the region travel I-270 through the city, and their impression of Dublin may be formed solely by their experience driving that freeway segment. Components that contribute to the definition of roadway character include: road design and construction standards; setbacks and buffering between adjacent uses; building types and architectural styles; signs; landscaping within the right-of-way and adjacent areas, design quality of the pedestrian realm, and the natural qualities of the area.
As a development tool, the Community Plan identifies the desired roadway character of major thoroughfares throughout Dublin and the surrounding planning area. These designations assist in the preservation of existing character and guide future development and the long-term improvement of Dublin’s roadways. Some road corridors are particularly scenic and their existing character should be well managed during zoning and development requests, while others should be targeted for enhancement as growth occurs.
Preserving and creating roadway character begins by defining a vision for how a particular road should look and feel and continues by determining what elements are needed to carry out the vision. Dublin’s major thoroughfares generally include visual quality that falls within four major categories: Rural Character, River Corridor Character, Traditional Dublin Character, and Urban/Village Character. Each category includes a description of the elements commonly present that contribute to specific roadway character type. The Community Plan provides guidance as to what major elements should be incorporated to achieve the vision. Individual roadways may change in character along the way; some segments may serve as transitional corridors, with unique and distinctive combinations of recommended design elements.
This character results from the cultural and historic use of the region for agricultural purposes. The roadways are typical of unincorporated areas or old township roads and are informal, evoking a sense of the past prior to development and include the following:
- Application of generous setbacks ranging from 100 to 200 feet;
- Integration of open views and vistas into adjacent development perhaps greater than 200 feet in some areas to increase the sense of openness;
- Provision of informal landscaping that focuses on native plant species and naturalized forms (meadows, wildflowers, grasses, wetland areas etc.);
- Use of trees, fencerows and woodland plantings to provide additional screening and sense of enclosure;
- Preservation of historic farmsteads, barns or outbuildings that emphasize the agrarian history of the area;
- Creation of meandering bike paths and sidewalks that are informally designed as to not be entirely visible from the roadway;
- Design of naturalized ponds with aquatic plants and informal edges;
- Use of stone walls and split rail fences that are traditionally used in the countryside;
- Integration of “rural” road design that may include berms, swales and/or variable medians; and
- Provision of shared entrances to minimize curbcuts and maintain openness.
River Corridor Character
This character is primarily the result of natural processes on the land over the course of many years. The river corridor possesses dramatic topographical changes, is heavily wooded and includes the Scioto River and its tributaries.
- Use of modest setbacks ranging from 60 to 100 feet;
- Creation of roadway width and alignment to follow stream corridors or respond to existing natural features;
- Use of woodland plantings and incorporation of landforms to create topographic change and shape views;
- Integration of stone walls and stone outcrops to provide ties to surrounding topography;
- Design of informal water features to blend with the surrounding character of the river corridor;
- Use of swales and berms instead of constructed curb and gutter for informal feel; and
- Installation of informal landscape designs to enhance the natural appearance along the river corridor.
Traditional Dublin Character
This character exemplifies the high quality standards by which Dublin’s primary roadways have been designed, built and landscaped over the past several decades to provide a very formalized and maintained roadway.
- Use of 100-foot setbacks or equivalent to blend with surrounding developments;
- Design of curvilinear roads with landscaped medians and meandering bike paths;
- Installation of formal, maintained landscape treatments;
- Focus on ponds and water features with maintained and/or hardscaped edges;
- Use of variable mounding with landscaping to screen uses along roadways; and
- Primarily curb and gutter design, but may include swales and berms.
Streets are a community’s “front porch.” They are the city’s most common form of open space, providing important opportunities for entertainment, recreation, and gathering. In Historic Dublin and more densely developed areas, streets serve as public gathering places and venues for commercial activity. Streets characterized as urban safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians to encourage non-motorized forms of travel; the scale is highly pedestrian with cars and people sharing limited space. The urban street character is based on traditional village and modern mixed use development patterns that include grid street networks with regularly spaced blocks framed by richly detailed architecture. In addition, Urban Character streets:
- Apply street designs that are sensitive to the surrounding land uses and development context;
- Create a grid-like street pattern to distribute traffic and allow pedestrians to walk to destinations using multiple routes;
- Use narrower streets and travel lanes to reduce travel speeds;
- Include on-street parking to provide a physical and psychological buffer between travel lanes and sidewalks, reducing the perceived travel lane widths for vehicles and making pedestrians feel safer on sidewalks;
- Are designed with off-street parking to the side and rear of buildings;
- Include service alleys and side or rear garage access to improve pedestrian character of streets;
- Are typically designed to accommodate safe bicycle travel within standard vehicular travel lanes; separate bikeway facilities (e.g. cycle tracks, sharrows and/or bike lanes) may be appropriate on higher volume roadways or as part of designated bicycle routes;
- Provide transit facilities and sidewalk curb extensions at bus stops;
- Provide smaller building setbacks ranging from 0 to 25 feet to enhance the relationship between buildings and the streetscape; setback areas may be designed as an extension of the streetscape, landscape areas or patios, as appropriate to the development context;
- Are framed by buildings designed with ground story transparency (i.e. windows), main entrances connected to sidewalks, and a high degree of architectural detailing to create an inviting, pedestrian-friendly walking experience;
- Offer sidewalk widths appropriate for the activities and pedestrian volumes along the street, while at a minimum providing sidewalks with universally accessible widths, cross-slopes, grades, and surfaces;
- Contain pedestrian-scaled street lighting in addition to roadway lighting;
- Include street trees and planting zones to buffer pedestrians from traffic, provide shade and visually soften hardscape areas;
- Use small parks, plazas, patios, and public spaces to provide character along the streetscape and reinforce the street’s role as a gathering space as well as a transportation route;
- Provide pedestrian amenities such as seating, news racks, recycling bins, water fountains, outdoor cafes, retail displays, and public art;
- Are complemented by pedestrian-oriented signs integrated with adjacent architecture;
- Integrate sustainable stormwater management within the streetscape using curb inlets, bioretention swales, tree and planter boxes, and permeable pavements; and
- Are framed by low masonry ‘street walls’, wrought iron fences, hedges, picket fences and gates, arbors or similar elements as appropriate to the village or urban setting, to add detailing and to help define the street’s public realm where buildings are not immediately adjacent to the sidewalk (such as along parking areas).
Continue to The Bikeway Plan. . .