Locations classified as suburban include a diverse range of commercial and residential uses that have a low or medium density. Suburban areas are usually (but not always) connected and closely integrated with an urban area. The buildings tend to be multi-story with off-street parking. Sidewalks are usually present and bicycle lanes may exist. These areas include mixed use town centers, commercial corridors, and residential areas. Big box commercial and light industrial uses are also common. The range of uses encompasses health services, light industrial (and sometimes heavy industrial), quick-stop shops, gas stations, restaurants, schools and libraries.
Suburban characteristics also include:
- Heavy reliance on passenger vehicles.
- Transit may be present.
- Residential areas may consist of single and/or multi-family structures.
- Building and structure setbacks from the roadway vary from short to long.
- May have well planned and arranged multi-uses that encourage walking and biking.
- Planned multi-use clusters may integrate residential and commercial areas along with schools and parks.
- Some highways that fit this category may be designated by WSDOT as “Main Street Highways” (see Appendix B: Identification of State Highways as Main Streets).
The suburban context applies to most mobility and economic vitality performance measures and metrics (summarized in the tables below). Note that the suburban context is relevant for practical solutions beyond those focused on mobility and economic vitality. Additional performance measures and metrics will be developed to evaluate how WSDOT projects advance WSDOT’s goals around the environment, preservation, safety, and stewardship.