Land Planning

What Are Street Sections?

In our last post in talking about public and private streets, we referred to the street standards of the local jurisdiction.  In that post, we were primarily discussing the width of public streets as it related to land use and project density.  So what are “street sections”?

I have found in the development industry that the terminology can often be redundant, with multiple terms meaning the same thing.  Such I think is the case with “street standards” and “street sections”.  With street sections, I like to think of looking at the street from a sideway view point, with the ability to view not only the width but also the depth.  So while these widths and depths are derived from the street standards imposed by city or county, the “section” is often thought of being the graphical dimensions.

In the last post, we discussed an example of a 56-foot right-of-way width.  This total width could be made up of 36 feet from curb to curb, showing 32 feet of asphalt and 2 feet of gutter/curb on each side of the street.  Behind the curb on both sides, you might have 5 feet of sidewalk and another 5 feet for public utilities behind the sidewalk.  All of these dimensions would add up to 56 feet in total and be graphically displayed on the tract map.

When talking about depths, we are referring to the amount of gravel base and asphalt in the street.  During the grading of a site, the streets will be “cut” to provide for anywhere from 8 – 12 inches of the gravel and asphalt.  On residential streets, meaning those that serve the homes, the street section might be 3 inches of asphalt over 6 inches of gravel – also coined as “3 over 6”.  For collector and arterial streets that have more traffic, the city street standards might call for “4 over 6” or “4 over 8”.  Keep in mind that each local jurisdiction has different standards, which is usually known by your land planner or civil engineer.

Again, I think street standards and street sections mean the same – dimensions.  But the street section is often thought to be the graphical representation of these standards.

Please feel free to share your comments and questions below.

John Kaye has over 30 years experience within the land development and homebuilding industries, having held senior management positions with The Irvine Company, Koll Real Estate Group, and Brookfield Homes. As a developer, John has overseen the land acquisition, entitlements, and development of master planned communities, residential tracts, urban infill sites, and land assemblages. His experience and skill sets include land acquisition, land brokerage, project management, market analysis, finance, and strategic planning.

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