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Building Entry Frequency

Article

Frequency of entries refers to the linear spacing of ground-floor entries over a given distance.  Entries are an important characteristic of buildings and sites, as they help create a more engaging street corridor.  Streets and sidewalks along which there is a high frequency of ground floor entries per a given length will generally have more pedestrian traffic than those with a low frequency of entries.

Streets lined by frequent entries are more inviting places for pedestrian activity than those with many closed, featureless walls.  The images below are examples of streets with commercial building frontages with a low frequency of entries.  These streets represent two rather unappealing pedestrian corridors. 

Low entry frequency
Credit: FTB
Low entry frequency
Credit: FTB

The images below provide examples of streets with commercial building frontages having a high frequency of entries.  In retail areas, a high frequency of entries (approximately one every 20 to 40 feet) will both support and generate pedestrian activity, while a low frequency of entries tends to discourage pedestrian activity.  Many great streets are associated with a high quality as well as high frequency of entries.

High entry frequency
Credit: FTB
High entry frequency
Credit: FTB

Below are examples of streets with residential building frontages with a low frequency of entries (left) and a high frequency of entries (right).  Again, a high frequency of entries both supports pedestrian activity and helps to generate it, and low frequency tends to discourage it.  The second image depicts a much more engaging pedestrian environment.

Low entry frequency - residential
Credit: FTB
High entry frequency - residential
Credit: FTB

Landscaped parkway Credit: FTB However, not every street must have a high frequency of entries in order to be attractive and function as an effective urban corridor.  At right is a parkway segment of an arterial street that is primarily focused on mobility rather than site or building access.  

The corridor's mobility orientation is in part achieved by projecting a strong and effective landscape character in the absence of buildings lining the street.  Behind the screening trees and hedges of the street edge are low to medium density residential neighborhoods. 

Frequency of entries, then, is one factor among many that come into play when considering the necessary balance and tradeoffs between land use character, mobility, site access, pedestrian activity, transit use, and architectural character in street design and corridor planning.