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City Street and Road Standards

This page provides information on city street and road standards in Washington State, including legal requirements and examples of local standards.


Overview

Chapter 35.78 RCW requires cities and towns to adopt uniform definitions and design standards for major and secondary arterials (as well as pedestrian and bicycle facilities). Standards are set through RCW 35.78.030 and RCW 35.78.040 by a state design standards committee in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

These uniform design standards apply to all new construction on major arterial and secondary arterial roads and streets and to reconstruction of such roads and streets as far as practicable. No deviation from the adopted design standards may be made without approval of the WSDOT state aid engineer.


State Design Standards

Below are local agency design standards and other resources from WSDOT and the City and County Design Standards committees.


City Streets as Part of State Highways

Chapter 47.24 RCW discusses city streets that are part of the state highway network, including the responsibilities and jurisdiction of the city and state. The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) has also reached an agreement with WSDOT further clarifying some of the provisions of that chapter and the accompanying administrative provisions.

New legislation: In 2018, the legislature adopted EHB 2948 updating the population thresholds in RCW 47.24.020. Effective June 7, 2018, the population threshold at which cities are required to assume maintenance responsibilities for their city streets that are part of state highways increased from 25,000 to 27,500. Cities will continue to have 3 years from the determination of population to plan for additional staffing, budgetary and equipment requirements before assuming the responsibilities.

The legislation also includes additional threshold increases to 30,000 in 2023, 32,000 in 2028, and  35,000 in 2033.


Examples of City Street and Road Standards

Links to city websites with representative street and road standards for cities of given size ranges are shown below. Some of these standards are part of overall development requirements, others are stand alone documents.

Population Greater than 70,000

30,000 to 70,000 Population

15,000 to 30,000 Population

Under 15,000 Population


Recommended Resources


Last Modified: January 28, 2019