Idea of the Day: Desire Lines

27 Jul
Desire line between Lindbergh Station and Lindbergh Drive

A five-year-old desire line cuts diagonally across the empty lot next to the Garson Drive parking deck at Lindbergh City Center

Desire Lines – also known as “intention lines, ” “paths of desire” or “desire paths” – are the paths worn into grass (or sometimes, snow) by pedestrians in places where sidewalks are unavailable or found to be inconvenient.

One of Atlanta’s most extensive collections of desire lines runs along both sides of Buford Highway, but college campuses, office parks and areas adjacent to transit stations are also prime locations for DIY pedestrian paths.

Pedestrian desire line on Oak Valley Road near Lenox Station

Pedestrians on the south end of Oak Valley Road, near Lenox Station, utilize the established desire lines or walk in the street where there's no sidewalk.


3 Responses to “Idea of the Day: Desire Lines”

  1. dressingmyself 07/27/2011 at 5:25 am #

    There should be a word for it: when something that doesn’t look very pretty is described in a beautiful way.
    Example: desire lines.

  2. Anoop Jha 12/23/2011 at 6:04 am #

    Significance of Pedestrian Desireline in, Landscape Architecture, Transport and Urban Planning

    When it comes to landscape planning or outdoor public spaces, pedestrian desire-lines are often ignored, result can be observed everywhere across city- broken fences, walls and barriers to avoid longer route and vehicular traffic, impression of casual pathways made by regular shortcut movement of pedestrian on the otherwise planned green fields and formal landscaped areas. All this because of ignorance to pedestrian desire-line and lack of comprehensive walkability plan for the city, neighborhood, and public spaces which should be otherwise vital and …..

    Anoop Jha


  1. Musings on Rat Running | Northern Ireland Roads - 05/22/2013

    […] What was happening was that pedestrians were choosing what they could plainly see was the direct route between the two points. Although a path existed between these two locations, it followed such a cumbersome route that it was ignored and over time pedestrians created their own path directly across the grass. This is called a desire line, and it exists in all forms of transport. Pedestrians walking across grass simply provide a good example of how in certain situations a desire line can become visually apparent. […]

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