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City Streets

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  • City Streets

    I need to know how wide city streets are in HO scale not including side walks. Both two lane and four lane. Thanks.


  • #2
    it depends...

    it varies but one of my scenery books said that a 12 foot lane was about standard (Callaghans book is from the 1960s though so maybe it is wider for newer streets). That would make a two lane street 24 feet from kerb to kerb but city streets often have parking on them so that would add an extra 8(?) feet on each side making it 40 feet.

    A four lane road would be 48 feet and with parking 64 feet, which sounds about right in that at a grade crossing there is unsually 1-and-a-bit frieght cars crossing at once.

    older streets are narrower. My modelled 1930s side streets were guesstimated at 36 feet and they look ok, if a little tight, to me.

    I hope that helps
    Built a waterfront HO layout in Ireland but now making a start in On30 in Australia


    • #3
      That is a loaded question, Neil is correct on the general dimensions of streets, but depending on the area and era you are modeling they could be quite a variation depending on the age of the area and when it was populated.
      Karl Scribner-Curmudgeon

      Cedar Swamp
      SW of Manistique, MI

      Avatar image by Savannah Lyn Burgess 7-15-2022


      • #4
        Use a couple of vehicles side by side from the area you are modeling as guides to a two lane roadway.

        I feel you get the proportions right so "it looks good"!


        • #5
          I think that there are really a number of factors to consider regarding this question, and thus a variety of correct answers.

          I've personally always regarded urban scenery as simply ancillary to my trains and therefore feel it should not take up too much space - just enough to give a reasonable impression. Likewise, unless it's a big city main street meeting the tracks at a right-angle, it isn't all that important to have it of scale width just for appearance sake.

          If the scene depicts an old industrial area, or part of town, odds are that the streets will be quite narrow even in the prototype. Often they'll be one-way with no parking either side and with quite narrow sidewalks. Also an important consideration is the question: is the street surface directly visible to the viewer, or do some structures intervene? If you can't directly view the street surface itself for any distance, you really need only convey the impression that it's there and can make it much narrower than it should be and without any sidewalks, while still retaining the general impression it's fully there.

          Pictures below of some of the street scenes on my layout perhaps convery the above indicated concepts better than my descriptions. All are decidely narrower than would be found in the real world. But, since they are simply background for the operating trains, I think they do a perfectly adequate and believable job.



          • #6
            All the answers above are right. There is no right or wrong with streets, each state or area was different. Most subdivision regulations list the minimum required width of pavement for all of the types of roads allowed in the municipality. In general, a “travel lane” is 9 – 10 feet, so the most narrow requirements are 18 – 20 feet of pavement. The average car or pickup is 5.5 – 6.5 feet wide, and dump trucks and school buses are 7 feet. The rationale for roads wider than 20 feet is the need to accommodate parked cars and two-way traffic, as well as emergency vehicles. Lou Sassi has put out books where he has his 1950's era streets 12 feet wide. In he 40s, country lanes would be narrow (8 feet or so) with a city street about 12 foot wide. 10 and 12 foot lanes were common then. Here are actual inches for HO width.

            8' = 1 1/8

            10' = 1 3/8

            12' = 1 5/8

            15' = 2 1/16

            20' = 2 3/4

            25' = 3 7/16

            Louis L&R Western Railroad
            Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


            • #7
              My compliments to everyone. :up:

              Information, dimensions, and suggestions that I'll need in the near future.

              Thanks again for your input.

              "Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”