Plan the public realm near transit for all-season use.


Public spaces should have good solar access, comfortable wind conditions, rain protection, seating, and landscape elements. Building placement, soft landscaping, and landscape structures should provide shade, wind, and rain protection. Avoid building placement that generates wind tunnels and large barren expanses.

Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources
A graphic of ways to protect users from rain, sun, and wind - by including landscaping (trees), and transit shelters.
Design Open Spaces with Consideration for Wind and Solar Comfort

Ground floor facades on major streets should incorporate continuous climate and weather protection. Weather protection canopies should be functional, of high design quality, and contribute to the human scale of the street. They should provide a choice for exposure to winter sun and shelter from summer sun and should be positioned between eleven (11) feet and sixteen (16) feet in height.

A photo of a sidewalk downtown with building canopies.
Building Canopies, Mountain View, CA

Consideration of sun and shade angles and stepping back of taller building portions may improve the comfort of pedestrians at street level, especially in cooler winter months. This should be balanced with consideration for shade in warmer months.

A photo of a building with the taller portion positioned to improve pedestrian comfort at street level.
Building Massing - Centerra Apartments, San José, CA (Source: Flickr - Sergio Ruiz)

Use vegetation strategically along streets and in open spaces. Consider microclimate, visibility, and accessibility during species selection.

A photo of a wide pedestrian walkway with shade trees on both sides.
Tree Lined Sidewalk - Vancouver, Canada