“We go back to some streets more often than to others…

maybe a street unlocks memories or offers expectation of

something pleasant to be seen…streets are places of social

and commercial encounter and exchange…a place to be

comforted by the presence of others.”  – From Great Streets by Allan B Jacobs

Porphyry pavers have been used in the making of memorable streets and places from ancient times to modern day.  A new guide to urban street design is available for local governments to peruse.  It was created by the very transportation officials that are implementing policy.

Natco Urban Street Design GuideThe National Organization of City Transportation Officials (NATCO), a network of big-city transportation departments, recently released the Urban Street Design Guidebook.  It is available for download here. Please see the full blog post to download this guide.  It has been created in an effort to outline the “21st-century demands” of urban streets, writes NACTO president Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

Many ideas put forth in the guide — such as the value of more pedestrian-oriented streets and low impact design — will be familiar to those who have read essential urbanist texts, like the popular Smart Growth Manual, or have sat for five minutes with an excitable urban planner. But as a resource for local governments, the guide is an accessible and comprehensive introduction and overview. With a quick read-over, it exposes bureaucrats and department heads alike to the fundamentals of new ideas in urban planning. A larger version of the guide is slated for release next year.

Download the Guide



NACTO was founded in 1996 by then Commissioner Elliot Sander ofNew York City’s Department of Transportation after concluding that, unlike the nation’s States which often interact with each other and through the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the large central cities had virtually no meaningful political or technical relationships with each other. Moreover, they also lacked such critical relationships with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). 

With the support of then USDOT Deputy Secretary Mortimer Downey, Sander reached out simultaneously to the Commissioners or Deputy Mayors of Boston,Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphiain mid 1995. In early 1996, the cities came together for the first time in Washington, DC for a series of meetings with USDOT, AASHTO, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and Public Technology, Inc. (PTI). As a group they achieved several significant results including the federal funding of individual projects in the cities, creating the USDOT joint offices in the large cities, and the conditional recertification of the Boston metropolitan planning organization (MPO). The five cities formalized the organization shortly thereafter, expanding it in successive years and adding to their success of functioning as a coherent group with the creation of the Transportation Research Board’s Large Cities Committee. During that same time, IMPACTS, an association of transportation officials from eleven European cities, was being established in Europe. Recognizing the advantages of a mutual exchange between the European and U.S. cities, the two associations formed a close relationship. 


Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –  www.milestoneimports.com