Walkable project site | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: New Construction | v4 - LEED v4

Walkable project site

Possible 1 point


Pilot Credit Closed

This pilot credit is closed, however, a similar credit is available for use through the innovation catalog.

To incorporate design elements that promote walking, biking, and other non-motorized transportation on the project site and in the surrounding community to reduce vehicle distance traveled, increase public health, and enhance community participation.


Design and build the project to achieve at least eight of nine of the following features:

  1. Continuous sidewalks or equivalent all-weather routes for walking on the project site, such as woonerfs1 or footpaths, serve all functional building entrances and connect them to public sidewalks. Service entrances may be excluded.
  2. A main entrance on the primary façade2 faces a public space such as a street3, square, park, paseo4, or plaza, but not a parking lot, and is connected to sidewalks.
    • For a square, park, or plaza to qualify as a public space, it must be at least 50 feet (15 meters) deep at a point perpendicular to the main entrance.
  3. The primary façade has a minimum building-height-to-street center line ratio of 1:1.5, e.g. a minimum of 1 unit of building height for every 1.5 units distance from street center line to building façade.
    • Building height is measured to the eaves, or the top of the roof for a flat-roof structure, and street center line is measured to the façade. For building frontages with multiple heights or widths, use average heights or widths weighted by each segment’s linear share of the street frontage.
    • If building’s distance from the street center line varies, then the project can show that the majority of the primary façade (by percent) is within the appropriate minimum building-height-to-street center line ratio.
  4. Any new off-street parking is located at the rear or interior side of the building, minimizing visibility of the off-street parking from the vehicle travel way and the primary façade.
  5. Newly constructed sidewalks are at least 10 feet (2.5 meters) wide for retail or mixed-use projects and at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide for all other project types.
    • Sidewalk width may include features such as street trees, tree gates, planting strips, benches, trash receptacles, bicycle racks, and street lights.
  6. No more than 20% of the street frontage includes garage or service bay openings. Alley5 access is used instead, if available.
  7. At-grade crossings with driveways account for no more than 10% (or 20 feet [6 meters], whichever is greater) of the length of sidewalks that are adjacent to streets within the project.
  8. No more than 30% of the primary façade at ground-level is without doors or windows, with a maximum interval of 15 feet between doors or windows. On all other street frontages, no more than 40% or 50 feet (15 meters), whichever is less, of ground-level façades extending along the sidewalk are without doors or windows.
  9. Trees are provided between the vehicle travel way and sidewalk at intervals of no more than 50 feet (15 meters), measured from the center of the trees.
    • Both existing and new trees may be used.
    • Trellises or other free-standing shade structures may be used if it can be demonstrated that the climate does not support street trees. Such structures must meet the same minimum spacing requirements and provide shade to at least 40% of the length of sidewalks adjacent to the vehicle travel way.
    • The width of driveways, utility vaults and alleyways intersecting the vehicle travel way or sidewalk are excluded from these calculations.

Historic buildings6 are exempt from requirements such as functional entry opening onto public space and building-height-to-street-centerline ratios, provided that the building cannot be modified without altering key historic features.

1 woonerf - a street, also known as a home zone, shared zone, or living street, where pedestrians have priority over vehicles and the posted speed limit is no greater than 10 miles per hour. Physical elements within the roadway, such as shared surfaces, plantings, street furniture, parking, and play areas, slow traffic and invite pedestrians to use the entire right-of-way.

2 primary façade - the principle front of the building that faces the street or other public space. For buildings with multiple street frontages, the primary façade faces the street with the highest order in the street hierarchy, which is typically but not always signified by the primary address of the building, a higher level of pedestrian activity, and a higher frequency of main entrances of other buildings on the street. The primary façade can also be identified by architectural massing, fenestration and other visual cues for pedestrians.

3 street - a dedicated right-of-way that can accommodate one or more modes of travel, excluding alleys and paseos. A street is suitable for primary entrances and provides access to the front and/or sides of buildings and lots. A street may be privately owned as long as it is deeded in perpetuity for general public use. A street must be an addressable thoroughfare (for mail purposes) under the standards of the applicable regulating authority.

4 paseo - a publicly accessible pedestrian path, at least 4 feet wide and no more than 12 feet wide, that provides shortcuts between buildings and through the block, connecting street frontages to rear parking areas, midblock courtyards, alleys, or other streets. A paseo may be roofed for up to 50% of its length and may be privately owned or publicly dedicated.

5 alley - a publicly accessible right-of-way, generally located midblock, that can accommodate slow-speed motor vehicles, as well as bicycles and pedestrians. An alley provides access to the side or rear of abutting properties for loading, parking, and other service functions, minimizing the need for these functions to be located along streets. It may be publicly dedicated or privately owned and deeded in perpetuity for general public use.

6 historic building - a building or structure listed or determined to be eligible as a historic structure or building or structure or as a contributing building or structure in a designated historic district, due to its historic, architectural, engineering, archeological, or cultural significance. The building or structure must be designated as historic by a local historic preservation review board or similar body, be listed in a state register of historic places, be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, or have been determined eligible for listing in the National Register.


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Participate in the LEEDuser pilot credit forum

Credit specific
  1. Site plan that includes project boundary, primary façade, functional building entrances, circulation network, parking, sidewalks, street trees and other walkability features, with relevant distances noted.
  2. Exterior elevations that include building height, glazing, doors, and garage or service entrances, with relevant distances noted.
  3. Calculations for building height to street width along the primary façade, as applicable:
    1. Average building height along primary façade:
    2. Distance from building façade to street centerline along primary façade:
    3. Calculated building-height-to-street-centerline ratio:
  4. Calculations for ground-level building façade features, as applicable:
  5. Requirement 6

    • Total length of all façades
    • Total length of all façades occupied by garage or service bay openings:
    • Calculated % of primary façade occupied by garage or service bay openings:

    Requirement 8, Primary Façade

    • Total length of primary façade:
    • Total length of primary façade that includes glazing or doors at ground level:
    • Calculated % of primary façade that is without glazing or doors:
    • Maximum length of blank wall along primary façade:

    Requirement 8, All Other Façades

    • Total length of all other façades:
    • Total length of all other façades that include glazing or doors at ground level:
    • Calculated % of length of all other façades that are without glazing or doors:
  6. Proof of historic building designation, if applicable.
Additional questions
  • Did your project design include any walkability features that are not reflected in the credit requirements? Please indicate the design features and their intended effect on the pedestrian experience.
  • Which walkability features of the project are visibly differ from adjacent sites? Which features are the same? How does this continuity or lack of continuity impact the pedestrian experience?
  • Was the flexibility to document 8 of 9 requirements appropriate?
  • Was the distinction between primary façade and all other façades appropriate?
  • Were there any unique aspects of your project (for instance, corner lot or zero lot line) that you feel made any requirement inappropriate for your project?
  • Changes based on feedback 03/15/2013:
    Wording modifications & measurement clarifications
    Public space qualification language added
  • Change based on typo 11/3/2014:
    Changed 450 feet to 50 feet under street trees bullet
  • Changes based on LP TAG review 10/22/2015:
    Various copy edits and reorganization for clarity
    May meet all but one requirement for credit compliance
    Clarified building-height-to-street-centerline requirements apply only to primary façade
    Clarified what is included in sidewalk width
    Increased minimum sidewalk width
    Added flexibility to at-grade crossing length to accommodate small, single-frontage projects
    Separated glazing requirements between primary facade and other facades
    Allowed alternative shading devices for dry climates
    Allowed other historic exemptions on a case by case basis
  • 12/1/2015
    Added submittal requirements

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