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Detailing the Design

A multidisciplinary design team can produce an aesthetic and functional product when the members work together and are flexible in applying guidelines. (BaltimoreWashington Parkway, MD) Particularly during the final design phase, it is the details associated with the project that are important. Employing a multidisciplinary design team ensures that important design details are considered and that they are compatible with community values. Often it is the details of the project that are most recognizable to the public.

Detailing the Design



Particularly during the final design phase, it is the details associated with the project that are important. Employing a multidisciplinary design team ensures that important design details are considered and that they are compatible with community values. Often it is the details of the project that are most recognizable to the public. A special type of tree that was used as part of the landscape plan, antique lighting, brick sidewalks, and ornamental traffic barriers are all elements of a roadway that are easily recognizable and leave an impression. Because of their visibility, the treatment of details is a critical element in good design.

For instance, the stonewall appearance of the traffic barriers on the BaltimoreWashington Parkway is one of the first elements noticed by drivers using that route. If a plain concrete barrier had been used instead, the overall appearance of the parkway would change considerably. A design that requires no traffic barriers whatsoever may be considered even more aesthetically pleasing than improved barrier designs, even if they are given a pleasing design treatment.

I35E, which passes through downtown St. Paul, MN, incorporated many design elements (such as ornate bridge rails and lighting, planted medians, and street furniture) to achieve the identified project goals of integrating the freeway into the urban environment, designing a gateway into downtown, providing pedestrian access, and reflecting the history and character of the area.

Such features as traffic barriers (or the lack of traffic barriers), bridge rails, and the treatment of overpasses, medians, and landscape development should be integral parts of the design process, not left to the end or forgotten entirely.


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