Frequently Used Terms

At-grade intersection – An at-grade intersection refers to an intersection where all roads connect at the same level, with none of the intersecting roads at a higher or lower level than the others.

Bike Box – A bike box is a designated area at a signalized intersection that allows bicyclists to queue at red lights ahead of motorized traffic. Bike boxes serve to maximize visibility and safety for bicyclists at signalized intersections.

Bike Lane – a portion of a roadway that has been designated by striping, signage, and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists.

Bioswale  – Bioswales utilize natural technology to manage and remove pollutants from storm water runoff. Bioswales are landscaped areas that look like gardens but are designed to remove pollutants from a specific amount of storm water runoff. Bioswales are installed with a gradual slope that is similar to a naturally occurring waterway. Native plant roots and soil filter pollutants from storm water, preventing polluted water from entering local waterways.

Buffered Bike Lane – A buffered bike lane is an on-street designated bicycle lane that is separated from automobile traffic by road markings that provides space between the bike lane and travel or parking lanes. Buffers are typically 3 feet in width, or wider.

Complete Streets – Complete Streets are roadways that are designed to provide safe, convenient, and comfortable access to users of all ages, abilities and means of transportation including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit. Complete streets often feature widened sidewalks, various types of bicycle accommodations, traffic calming techniques, and transit accommodations.

Cycle Track – A cycle track is an off-street bicycle amenity that combines the safety of an off-street path with traditional on-street bike lane infrastructure such as signage and markings. A cycle track is for exclusive use by bicycles and is separated from both the road and sidewalks.

Exclusive Phase Crossing Signal – An Exclusive Phase Crossing Signal is a traffic signal that stops all traffic to allow for pedestrians to cross a street or intersection. The Downtown Crossing Project includes numerous Exclusive Phase Crossing Signals, one of which (at the Orange Street, MLK Boulevard and South Frontage Road intersection) will provide an exclusive crossing phase for bicyclists as well as a separate, exclusive crossing phase for pedestrians.

Full Build – Full Build refers to the completed project, the completion of all stages of the project. With Phase 1 complete, Downtown Crossing will be not considered to be at Full Build until Phases 2 and 3 are also completed.

Grade Change – A grade change is a change in elevation—whether an increase or decrease— of a roadway or sidewalk.

Infiltration Basin – An infiltration basin is a human-made pond that is constructed to collect storm water runoff from surrounding paved surfaces, to prevent flooding and erosion. In addition to controlling storm water runoff, infiltration basins reduce pollution in ground water by utilizing plants that naturally remove pollutants from water.

Multi-modal streets – Streets that are designed to safely accommodate multiple modes of transportation, including pedestrian, bicyclist, public transit, and personal motor vehicle users.

Multi-use Trail – A multi-use trail is an off-street path, typically separated from a roadway by some sort of open space, that is a shared space for both bicyclists and pedestrians.

Pedestrian Enhancements – Pedestrian enhancements improved safety and comfortability for pedestrians. These improvements can include, but are not limited to, landscaping, sidewalk layout and design, street furniture, lighting, and pedestrian crossings such as raised or shortened intersections.

Pedestrian Path – A pedestrian path is an off-street walkway, excluding sidewalks, that is typically separated from a roadway by some sort of open space and is for pedestrian use only.

Pedestrian Refuge (at intersections)  – Pedestrian refuges are raised, streetscaped spaces used to shorten pedestrian crossing distances across wide intersections. The Downtown Crossing Project utilizes pedestrian refuges. In addition to shortening crossing distances for pedestrians, pedestrian refuges provide drivers visual clues to slow down.

Protected Bike Lane – A protected bike lane is an on-street designated bicycle lane that is separated from travel lanes by a physical barrier such as a curb or parking lane.

Protected Bike Intersection  – A protected bike intersection extends the buffer of a protected bike lane into an intersection. The buffer often consists of bicycle specific stop bar which extends into the intersection, improving visibility of riders to motorists, and vice versa, bicycle friendly traffic signal phasing, and a corner refuge island, specifically a concrete bump out that extends the pedestrian space into an intersection.

Right-of-Way  – Rights-of-way (ROW) are generally considered private property by the respective roadway owners and by applicable state laws. The State of Connecticut had the Right-of-Way for the highway and abutting areas that previously carried Route 34 in Downtown New Haven. This limited the use of the land and prevented development.

Storm water Runof – When rain falls on impermeable surfaces such as concrete or asphalt it cannot be absorbed into the ground as it does when falling on soil. When this occurs, the rainwater “runs-off” the impermeable surface which can cause flooding and erosion. Storm water runoff is also a major contributor of local waterway pollution. As rainwater washes over impermeable surfaces such as roads, it picks up and carries pollutants. Storm water runoff eventually makes it way to an area’s local streams, wetlands, rivers, and oceans. Typical pollutants in storm water runoff include PCBs, pesticides, petroleum, particulates, nitrogen, and phosphorous. Storm water needs to be managed to reduce flooding, erosion, and the pollution of local waterways.

Streetscaping  – Streetscaping refers to purposeful street designs to create conditions for specific uses. Streetscaping elements can make streets safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities. Examples of pedestrian-friendly Streetscaping include wide sidewalks, the placement of crosswalks and bus stops, the installation of bike lanes, plantings, landscaping, and benches.

Transit Oriented Development – Transit-oriented development (TOD) is medium to high density, mixed-use development located within a quarter to half mile radius of transit stations. TOD is typically compact and includes a mix of residential, office, retail and other commercial uses with an active and defined center that is geared toward pedestrian use. TOD utilizes innovative parking strategies to reduce the prominence of surface parking and less reliance on cars, enhancing economic development and land values.