Manuals and Metrics
Place Types: Parks and Preserves
Goal: Protect land that is intended to remain as parks or natural preserves in perpetuity. These places contribute to the quality of life of residents and visitors by providing places to gather and recreate, and further the environmental quality of our ecosystems including the tree canopy, waterways, and wildlife habitats.
Parks & Preserves serve to protect public parks and open space while providing rest, recreation, and gathering places for Charlotteans.
- Primary uses may include larger public parks, cemeteries, wildlife refuges, nature preserves, and recreational centers and facilities.
- Limited commercial uses may be compatible in some Parks and Preserves.
- This Place Type is characterized by natural areas, green spaces with tree canopy, and active uses where appropriate.
- Structures are typically limited in number and are intended to support on-site recreational activities and/or civic uses.
- Active uses and structures are located so as to provide minimal impact to sensitive environmental features.
- Parks and Preserves are easily and directly accessible from all places and are located along all street types. Any streets leading to, by, or through these places are designed to encourage safe and comfortable access by all transportation modes.
- The internal transportation network typically consists of pedestrian and bicycle paths for smaller parks, and for larger Parks and Preserves also includes driveways and very low-speed Local streets to provide access to internal facilities. Both the streets and the off-street network are well-connected and include pedestrian and bicycle facilities, even where natural features and large recreational areas limit street connections.
- Typical buildings in this Place Type include recreation facilities, nature centers, restroom facilities, shelters, maintenance buildings, and accessory commercial structures such as concession stands.
- Building sizes vary depending on the purpose of the building and the setting.
- Buildings are typically low-rise.
- Open space is the primary element of this Place Type.
- Depending on the purpose, the on-site open spaces typically include preserved natural areas, outdoor recreation facilities, or both. Examples of other open spaces include community or botanical gardens, arboreta, and landscaped areas.
A.Community gathering space with small-scale commercial uses such as cafes along roadway
B.Amenities interspersed throughout the public realm (benches, tables, trash receptacles, bike parking, etc.)
C.Active space including sports fields/courts, play area, and community garden
D.Safe multi-use paths, accommodating a lot of people and activation
E.Transition to Adjacent Place Types
Bird’s Eye Highlights
A.Increased tree canopy in open/
B.Frequent paths and connections (including to regional trails/greenways)
C.Active space including sports fields/courts, play area, plaza, and community garden
D.A mix of passive and active spaces
E.New buildings in/along park including small low-intensity commercial node (eg. cafes) and civic buildings (eg. library, nature center, etc.)
- Buildings typically include recreation facilities, nature centers, restrooms, shelters, maintenance buildings, and small shops such as concession stands. Sizes vary depending on the purpose of the building and the setting, but are typically only a few stories.
- Preserves provide a natural setting and may include a variety of ways to interact with it, including paths, trails, and recreation opportunities.
- Parks include a variety of activities and facilities for active uses such as sports fields/courts, plazas, play areas, and gardens.
- Parks and Preserves should all provide easy access and clear paths of travel.
- Parks have very high canopy coverage (excluding cemeteries, sports and recreation fields, etc.).
- Corridors connecting people to this Place Type are forested or tree-lined.
- In active use areas, all non-use space is maximized with tree plantings, including line roadways, parking lots and walkways.
- Passive use areas of this Place Type are 90%+ canopy cover.
- Transitions from most Parks and Preserves to other Place Types are typically not provided. However, landscape buffers and other light and sound mitigation techniques are applied where intensely used recreational facilities abut residential neighborhoods.
- Setbacks in Parks and Preserves vary based on the context in which they are located.
- Buildings along all street frontages include operable entrances and, particularly in urban environments, significant transparency.
Parking & Loading
- Most Parks and Preserves include some surface parking for users of the facilities.
- Where there are buildings that require loading, these facilities are located to the rear of buildings and screened from street view.
Block Lengths & Street Network
- The street network in Parks and Preserves varies greatly, depending on the use and size of the site.
- Preserves may have large contiguous natural areas that limit street connections. In these cases, pedestrian and bicycle facilities strengthen the internal network and provide connections to adjacent streets and neighborhoods.
- Parks and recreational areas typically have a fuller transportation network than Preserves, to provide direct access for all modes of transportation to facilities and playing fields.
Pedestrian & Bicycle Facilities
- Local and Arterial streets typically have 6-foot sidewalks with planting strips. Parks and recreational facilities in urban locations typically have at least 8-foot sidewalks and may include amenity zones. Larger parks typically have at least 8-foot sidewalks to encourage walking within the park and between facilities, while accommodating increased foot traffic.
- Shared use paths are provided where they are shown on the adopted Streets Map and along some internal local streets (for example, along main entrances and access roads into or through large Parks or Preserves). The internal pedestrian and bicycle network connects to these shared use paths at frequent intervals.
- Pedestrian access points into Parks and Preserves are direct and visible from adjacent streets.
- Parks have a moderate to high level of non-auto mode trips, depending on their size and specific facilities. Preserves have a low to moderate level of non-auto mode trips, depending on the surrounding context.
- For Parks and Preserves, shared parking areas and on-site amenities are accessible from both Local streets and Arterial streets. Shared parking areas are also well-connected to internal pedestrian and bicycle facilities and are designed to provide clear and direct pedestrian pathways through the parking lots.
Curb Lane Management & On-Street Parking
- For most Parks, on-street parking is expected along Local streets and may be provided along some Arterial streets. Parks and particularly Preserves in less urban locations may include Local streets without on-street parking if the street is designed for access to specific internal parking areas, trailheads, or other facilities.
- Parks designed for active recreation will have high turnover, requiring some degree of curb management to accommodate multiple users along local streets adjacent or within the site. Preserves typically have lower turnover and have limited need for curb management strategies.
Transportation Demand Management
- There are moderate opportunities for Transportation Demand Management in recreational areas and parks where access is provided by multiple modes. Preservation areas will have limited opportunities for Transportation Demand Management strategies.