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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

 
Report
This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-102
Date: July 2006

Lesson 9: Walkways, Sidewalks, and Public Spaces

This slide shows a picture of a busy sidewalk that has many people walking.


Lesson Outline

  • Important sidewalk locations.
  • Basic sidewalk design.
  • Beneficial design elements.
  • Public spaces.
  • Costs and benefits of sidewalks.
  • Summary.

This picture shows a pedestrian crossing sign that has a symbol of a person walking, with a supplemental plaque below that has the text "XING".

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Important Sidewalk Locations

  • Schools.
  • Transit stops.
  • Parks/sports areas.
  • Shopping districts.
  • Recreational corridors.
  • Medical complexes and hospital.
  • Public buildings.

Basic Sidewalk Design

  • Sidewalk width.
  • Bridge sidewalks.
  • Rural sidewalks.
  • Border areas and buffers.
  • Grade.
  • Cross–slope.
  • Pavement surfaces.
  • Stairs.
  • Corners.
  • Shy distances.
  • Sight distances.
  • Continuity.

Sidewalk Width

This picture shows several people walking along a wide sidewalk.

Minimum Desired
1.2 m (4 ft) (AASHTO)1.8+ m (6+ ft) (varies)
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Bridge Sidewalks

This picture shows two different pictures to illustrate different examples of sidewalks on bridges.

This picture shows two different pictures to illustrate different examples of sidewalks on bridges.

Minimum Desired
On one side, full widthOn both sides, full width, separated from traffic
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Rural Sidewalks

This picture shows a rural roadway that has a paved shoulder. A bicyclists is riding on the paved shoulder, with a few vehicles approaching in the far distance.

Minimum Desired
Paved shoulderSidewalk as far from road as possible (nearest right–of–way)
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Border Areas and Buffers

This slide has two pictures to illustrate examples of landscaping used to separate the street from the sidewalk. In the picture on the left, a solid hedge with intermittent trees is used to provide a continuous buffer between the sidewalk and the street. In the picture on the right, grass with periodic palm trees is used in this buffer space.

This slide has two pictures to illustrate examples of landscaping used to separate the street from the sidewalk. In the picture on the left, a solid hedge with intermittent trees is used to provide a continuous buffer between the sidewalk and the street. In the picture on the right, grass with periodic palm trees is used in this buffer space.

Minimum Desired
5-7 ft (from lane)
1-3 ft (from building)
10+ ft (from lane)
3+ ft (from building)
Source: PBIC,www.pedbikeimages.org

Grade

This picture shows a street on an extremely steep hill. Steps are used along the street in place of the sidewalk.

Minimum Desired
<5 to 8 percentAs flat as possible to still allow drainage

Pavement Surfaces

This picture shows a sidewalk that has been constructed with an artistic pattern using concrete paver stones.

Minimum Desired
Usually concreteConcrete, asphalt, or paver stones
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Stairs

This picture shows the landing at the top of a set of outdoor stairs.

Minimum Desired
0.3–m– (42–inch–) wide railing on one sideUniform grade, 1 percent slope, railings on both sides, well–lit

Corners

This slide shows two pictures to illustrate examples of curb return radius at street corners.

This slide shows two pictures to illustrate examples of curb return radius at street corners.

Minimum Desired
1.2–m– (4–ft–) wide curb rampsCurb ramps, queuing space, enlivening street furniture
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Shy Distances

This picture shows a sitting area along a sidewalk which contains trees, benches, and trash receptacles.

Minimum Desired
None0.4 to 0.9 m (1.5 to 3 ft) from object
Source: PBIC,www.pedbikeimages.org

Continuity

This picture shows a grid street network that has a relatively high level of continuity.

Minimum Desired
NoneInterconnected network
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Additional Design Elements

  • Street lighting.
  • Landscaping.
  • Awnings.
  • Kiosks.

This picture shows a pedestrian walkway/mall area between storefronts. The space looks inviting, with large trees providing shade and abundant landscaping.


Public Spaces

  • Outdoor cafes.
  • Alleys/narrow streets.
  • Play areas/public art.
  • Pedestrian streets/malls.
  • Pedestrian plazas.

This picture shows a pedestrian plaza with dining tables covered by umbrellas. Several people are dining at the tables, and other people are walking through the plaza.


Costs and Benefits of Sidewalks

  • Addition: 1.5 m (5–ft) sidewalk and two street border trees.
  • Cost: an extra one to three percent of total cost to develop the lot.
  • Benefit: increased property value of $3,000 to $5,000.

Lesson Summary

  • Sidewalks should be provided for certain types of land use.
  • Sidewalks should be designed to meet certain minimum requirements.
  • Additional design elements are key to creating inviting pedestrian spaces.
  • Well–designed and placed public spaces can enliven an area.
  • Sidewalks have valuable community benefits.

 

FHWA-HRT-05-102

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